S.Africa State of Nation address amid turmoil

South Africa on Tuesday postponed its State of the Nation address, the keynote political event of the year, as the ruling ANC party grappled over a battle to unseat President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma, in power since 2009, is fighting for his survival and faces the imminent risk of being ousted from office by his own party after multiple graft scandals.

The African National Congress, which has ruled since Nelson Mandela won the post-apartheid 1994 election, is divided over whether Zuma should be “recalled” from his position.

As president, Zuma had been due to deliver the State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

But the party’s national executive committee, its highest decision-making body, will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss his possible removal.

“We thought that we needed to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in parliament,” parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete told reporters.

“When we met the president this afternoon, we then learnt that he was already writing to parliament to ask for the postponement.

“A new date for the state of the nation address will be announced very soon.”

The 80 member ANC committee meeting on Wednesday could “recall” Zuma from office — an instruction he could constitutionally refuse to obey, triggering political chaos.

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