No confirmation of Zuma’s attendance at Sona

Former president Jacob Zuma leaving the commission of inquiry into state capture.Former president Jacob Zuma leaving the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Former president Jacob Zuma. (Wikus de Wet/Pool/AFP)

Parliament says former president Jacob Zuma has not confirmed that he will be attending Thursday’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

On Wednesday, the legislature announced on its Twitter account that Zuma would be attending President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation. But Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said there has been no confirmation from the former head of state. “That tweet was sent out in error and we are investigating what happened,” he said.

“We are still waiting for confirmation. I’m looking for that confirmation. If it is not there then we will remove that post from Twitter.”

But Mothapo did add that former presidents are always welcome to attend Sona. “The seat is always reserved for former presidents,” he said. “We will be waiting till the last minute.” 

It would have been Zuma’s first public appearance since a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Pietermaritzburg high court last week. The court was not satisfied with a medical certificate saying he was unfit to attend proceedings.

Zuma had also excused himself from appearing at the Zondo commission of inquiry, citing health problems. 

Last week Parliament’s presiding officers, National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo, announced that former presidents Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki will both be at the Parliamentary precinct for Ramaphosa’s speech. 

South Africa’s last apartheid president, FW De Klerk, has indicated that he will be also attending. Former speakers of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete and Frene Ginwala, are also listed as attending.