S. Africa: Zuma’s state of nation address postponed

Monitoring Desk

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s parliament on Tuesday postponed President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address scheduled for Thursday amid pressure for him to resign.

Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters outside the parliament in Cape Town they had written to the president informing him about the postponement.

She said they wanted a favorable environment for the address to be delivered because in the past four years Zuma’s addresses have been interrupted by the opposition.

Opposition parties and civil society groups had threatened to go to court if Zuma’s address is not postponed. They have been demanding the ruling African National Congress (ANC) remove the 75-year-old president, whose tenure has been marred by a number of corruption allegations.

Top six officials of the ANC met Zuma on Sunday and requested him step down but he declined saying he had done nothing wrong.

Zuma faces hundreds of criminal charges, including corruption, racketeering and fraud linked to a 1999 multibillion-dollar government arms deal.

He stepped down as ANC president in December after serving two terms as party leader.

He has been weakened by the election of his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, as party leader.

Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes due to his party’s majority in parliament. He faces another no confidence vote later this month.

His second five-year term is set to expire next year.