Zuma set to attend SONA – his 1st since Ramaphosa succeeded him

Jacob Zuma. Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

Former President Jacob Zuma is set to attend the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Thursday.

This is according to a tweet by Parliament’s official Twitter account on Wednesday. Parliament also confirmed that former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe will attend.

Zuma’s anticipated attendance would be his first since stepping down as President in February 2018 and being succeeded by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Too ill to appear in court, Zondo Commission

It would also be his first public appearance since the Pietermaritzburg high court issued an arrest warrant for him earlier this month.

Judge Dhaya Pillay doubted the veracity of the medical certificate presented by Zuma’s lawyers as proof that he was too ill to appear in court.

However, she stayed the warrant until the ex-President’s corruption trial resumes on 6 May.

Zuma’s appearance before the state capture commission of inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was also postponed twice due to his ill health.

‘He is indeed sick’

The former President has reportedly undergone two surgical procedures in addition to receiving medical treatment in Cuba.

His exact medical condition has remained a mystery, with his lawyer Dan Mantsha telling the Pietermaritzburg high court that it is a matter of “national security.”

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, African National Congress Secretary General Ace Magashule said Zuma was “indeed sick.”

“Well, President Zuma is one person who has attended meetings of the NEC and when we could not see him… it’s because he is indeed sick. That’s what we know for sure. I have visited him several times and indeed he was not fine.”

The warrant of arrest sparked angry reactions from Zuma’s supporters, including the ANC National Youth Task Team, various ANC Youth League structures and former minister Bathabile Dlamini.

A formation calling itself the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Support Group for President Jacob Zuma has now emerged.

According to its spokesperson Carl Niehaus, it is planning to show support for Zuma and RET policies through “rolling mass action.”

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