'We have won', says Madisha on Sona postponement

President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

The postponement of the state of nation address means that the opposition parties have won; this is according Congress of the People (COPE) MP Willie Madisha.

Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete on Tuesday announced the postponement of Sona amid growing concerns over President Jacob Zuma's future.

Zuma was scheduled to deliver the address in a joint sitting of Parliament in the National Assembly on Thursday.

"As the opposition parties we want to say that we have won. That which we have raised all the time, the people of South Africa, I want to insist, we have won," said Madisha.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) secretary general Gordrich Gardee said that as much as they welcome the postponement, they wanted to reiterate that the motion of no confidence in Zuma should be debated before a new date for the address.

"The motion of no confidence should be convened any day but at least prior to any state of the nation address as long as Mr Zuma's resignation letter is not on the table of the speaker," said.

ANC's chief whip in parliament Jackson Mthembu said the postponement gives the National Assembly "an opportunity to have a Sona that is not chaotic. A Sona that is not disruptive. A Sona that gives hopes to our people and a Sona indeed of our dreams".

Mthembu said that the address that was scheduled for Thursday was not going to be helpful to the nation and the governing party.

"In the past three years or so, Sonas have not been the best occasions that would've been wished for. People have been marched out, have been forced and to some extent people have been beaten up and the white shirted security guards have also ejected people out of Sona. Is that a Sona that we want? Definitely no."

Chief whip of the Democratic Alliance John Steinhuisen said as the party they were "delighted" as this is what they have been fighting for.

"That parliament would be spared the indignity of having Mr Zuma, the discredited president of a discredited government delivering a Sona which would be nothing more than a fairytale.

"He would not be the president for much longer and therefore it would've made a complete farce of this important event in the parliamentary calendar," said Steenhuisen.

Inkatha Freedom Party's Narend Singh commended the presiding officers for a "very sensible" decision to postpone.

"There will be some inconvenience to people who wanted to descend on Cape Town and to us as parliamentarians but I think it's a small price to pay in the interest of the country as a whole."

He added that this has restored the credibility of parliament.

Nhlanhlakayise Khubisa of the National Freedom Party said he hoped the postponement would give time for stability, order and tranquility.

"We believe that it was appropriate in the light of uncertainty, in the light of a wave on instability that was going through across the country. Sona is a very important speech that has got to be delivered to the public. The speech is for the public."

The 2018 State of the Nation Address has been postponed.

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