The state-of-the-nation address (Sona) would be delivered by whoever the president is on February 8, Parliament’s presiding officers said on Thursday.
“We have absolutely no intention as presiding officers to approach any president to say you must not come and give the state-of-the-nation address. Remember that for us it is a president or the president that writes to us. Whoever is president will address us,” said National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairwoman Thandi Modise, briefing journalists on preparations for next week’s SONA to be delivered to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and NCOP.
Modise and fellow presiding officers were asked whether it was factoring in a possibility that Zuma would not be the head of state next week after the African National Congress indicated its top six officals were discussing “options” with the president to prevent him from being impeached.
The Democratic Alliance has also written to the National Assembly Speaker asking for the SONA to be postponed until Zuma is removed, while the country’s third biggest party, the Economic Freedom Fighters have asked for a motion of no confidence debate to be scheduled ahead of the speech. The latter has for the past few years disrupted the SONA, with its MPs saying it did not recognise the legitimacy of the Zuma presidency.
“We have received this request to address Parliament. That has been processed. This is why preparations are in place. It cannot be there’s a threat of disruption, we can’t have a head of state not come to speak here,” said deputy National Assembly speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.