Parliament has backtracked from a confirmation it had earlier issued that former President Jacob Zuma will attend Thursday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Through its official Twitter account, Parliament had earlier on Wednesday shared a photo of the ex-President along with the confirmation that he would attend.
However, in a subsequent tweet posted around just four hours later, it said the confirmation was “premature.”
‘The error is regretted’
It said, “In confirming list of former Presidents who have confirmed attendance of #SONA, an earlier tweet erroneously included Former President Jacob Zuma.
“The confirmation was premature; an accurate update will be given later today. The error is regretted.”
The backtracking comes soon after Carl Niehaus, spokesperson of uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), cast doubt on Parliament’s confirmation.
Addressing a press conference called by a group calling itself the Radical Economic Transformation Support Group for President Jacob Zuma, Niehaus suggested that Parliament could have issued “fake news.”
‘No information that Zuma will attend’
Niehaus said, “At this state, there is absolutely no information from us, and especially from the lawyers of Msholozi [Zuma’s clan name], that he will attend.
“We fear that that announcement may be fake news in order to try and cast aspersions on whether Msholozi is really ill.
“So, let us be careful with the propaganda games that may be played. We will find out what the exact facts are. I’ve requested the attorneys of President Zuma to investigate this matter and later today, they will issue a comprehensive and clarifying statement.”
Niehaus added that the group will organise a “mass welcoming” of Zuma at OR Tambo International Airport when he returns from medical treatment from overseas.
Zuma’s health has been the subject of intense speculation after he missed his corruption trial on 4 February at the Pietermaritzburg high court.
The court subsequently issued a warrant of arrest for him, stayed until 6 May, sparking anger among his supporters.