Monday 22 October 2018

South African president’s speech postponed amid pressure to step down

Jacob Zuma has been urged to resign over a number of scandals and controversies which have blighted his premiership.

Jacob Zuma has faced intense pressure to stand down (AP)
Jacob Zuma has faced intense pressure to stand down (AP)

By Paul McGurk

A state of the nation address which was due to be delivered by South African president Jacob Zuma has been postponed.

Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete’s announcement over Thursday’s planned speech comes as Mr Zuma faces intense pressure to resign over corruption scandals which have hurt the popularity of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

Mr Mbete said the decision to postpone the speech was made in the “best interests” of South Africa.

Opposition parties have said Mr Zuma should not give the speech and had called for a postponement. Some opposition legislators have disrupted past appearances by Mr Zuma in parliament.

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Members of the African National Congress protest outside the party’s headquarters in Johannesburg (AP)

Earlier, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said Mr Zuma must go “sooner rather than later”, and that any delay would lead to violent conflict.

The non-profit group added that the president’s departure would not be enough to address deep-rooted corruption in one of Africa’s most developed countries.

The organisation, which promotes the legacy of South Africa’s anti-apartheid leader and first black president, first called for Mr Zuma to resign more than a year ago.

The president has been enmeshed in a series of scandals but denies wrongdoing. Many members of the ANC have turned against him, fearing that his presence will hurt the party ahead of 2019 elections.

Press Association

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