CAPE TOWN – South African Parliament has officially received the resignation letter of former president Jacob Zuma, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete confirmed on Thursday.
Mbete released a statement confirming the letter was received on Thursday, and would be officially tabled in the Announcements, Tablings and Committees Journal.
It is effective immediately.
“The Speaker has been informed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng of his availability to preside over the National Assembly’s election of the new President this afternoon,” Mbete said.
“This has necessitated that the election of the President, which was initially scheduled for Friday, 16 February 2018, be changed to today at 14.00.”
The motion of no confidence in Zuma, scheduled for Thursday, will thus fall away once the resignation letter is read into the record during the sitting.
“The Speaker thanks the President Zuma for his service to the people of South Africa in the last eight years and wishes him well,” Mbete added.
This is the programme of Parliament for the next few days:
Election of the new President at 14:00 on Thursday;
State of the Nation Address (SONA) at 19:00 on Friday;
SONA debate at 14:00 on Monday;
SONA reply at 14:00 on Tuesday;
Budget Speech at 14:00 on Wednesday;
‘All systems go’ for SONA
Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise chaired a joint programming committee meeting on Thursday to discuss logistics around Friday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
African National Congress chief whip Jackson Mthembu told the joint programming committee on Thursday that Zuma’s resignation had given MPs an “opening tomorrow” to prepare for SONA on Friday evening.
“The opening will allow us to go do our hair and buy our clothes and be ready for 19:00 [tomorrow],” Mthembu joked.
Modise chirped: “The doing of the hair will be across genders, it won’t be specific to just women, thank you.”
Parliament’s acting secretary Penelope Tyawa gave a breakdown of plans for SONA.
All invited guests had been sent SMSes, and they would reconcile the guest list at 11:00.
The accreditation process would be the same as planned for the original SONA two weeks ago. Plans were in place to accommodate all the outside broadcasting vans on the precinct.
“It’s all systems go,” Tyawa said.
Economic Freedom Fighters MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi joked that guests would be pleased that there would be no need for “bouncers” in the chamber anymore.
Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Narend Singh also joked that the imbongi (praise singer) used during Zuma’s tenure should be replaced with a new one for the new president.
Mbete closed the meeting by wishing everyone a belated happy Valentine’s Day. MPs across the political spectrum, including the presiding officers, ended the meeting smiling, laughing and relaxed. – News24