06/02/2018 13:09 SAST | Updated 06/02/2018 13:09 SAST

The ANC Doesn't Seem To Know Who Will Deliver The Sona Yet

"Right now we just don’t have that answer."

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
GULSHAN KHAN via Getty Images
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

The ANC is not entirely sure whether President Jacob Zuma will deliver the state of the nation address on Thursday.

The party's national executive committee (NEC) is meeting in Cape Town a day before the annual event to discuss the removal of Zuma as head of state. If the NEC opts to recall Zuma at the meeting and he resigns as president thereafter, he will not address the Sona.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, asked about the Sona, said the party and the country will have to wait until the NEC makes a decision on the way forward.

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"The ANC does not arrange the Sona; it is done by Parliament," Duarte told reporters at Luthuli House. "We have seen an announcement by Parliament that there will be a Sona, that's what we know. But I think we should just [avoid expressing any] negativity around that matter until we get a clear answer... Right now we just don't have that answer."

"The NEC has a right to discuss the concept of a recall of any of its deployees. Once that has happened, I have not met a deployee who has said, 'I refuse to be given that particular instruction from the organisation.' What we need to accept and understand is that we are going to have to wait for the decision by the NEC."

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On Sunday, the ANC's top six met with Zuma to discuss his removal. It was reported that Zuma refused to resign. The top six then gave feedback to the party's national working committee (NWC) during an urgent meeting convened on Monday. The NWC then arranged for an urgent meeting of the NEC to discuss Zuma's fate on Wednesday.

"It is really not a good thing to speculate what happened in that meeting. It was a two-hour meeting at [Zuma's] home. We had discussions about what he thought and what we thought were the current difficulties facing the country. He expressed his views, members of the top six expressed their own views, and we left that meeting with a clear understanding that we were going to report back to the NWC," Duarte said.

"The NWC has discussed the issue surrounding the future of [Zuma], and the matters we had discussed will be taken to the NEC... Whatever happens after the NEC sits, there will be a briefing to the nation immediately. Whatever processes that have been agreed upon will be announced, and will be put in place."

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She said the Constitution states if the state president resigns, the deputy state president (in this case ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa) will immediately become the next state president.

"A vote of no confidence is not desirable under any circumstances. Our most important consideration is that we don't believe South Africans should wish for us to embarrass [Zuma] in any way whatsoever. What is material is how the ANC itself is going to respond to the issues that have been raised in our NWC, and the response to that is what will determine the way forward," Duarte said.