JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Latest on South Africa’s political turmoil (all times local):
South Africa’s ruling party says a key leadership meeting set for Wednesday has been postponed after “fruitful and constructive engagements” between embattled President Jacob Zuma and his deputy and new party leader Cyril Ramaphosa.
The National Executive Committee had been expected to discuss the president’s fate amid growing pressure both inside and outside the ruling African National Congress for Zuma to resign.
Earlier Tuesday, officials said Zuma will not give the state of the nation address in parliament on Thursday because of concerns that lawmakers would disrupt the speech. The address has been postponed.
Opposition parties have said the scandal-tainted Zuma is so discredited that he has no right to address the nation, while many former loyalists in the ANC want him to quit so they can try to recover lost popularity ahead of 2019 elections.
The speaker of South Africa’s parliament says the state of the nation address that was to be delivered by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday will be postponed.
Speaker Baleka Mbete’s announcement on Tuesday comes amid intense pressure on Zuma to resign because of corruption scandals that have hurt the popularity of the ruling African National Congress party.
Mbete says the decision to postpone the speech was made in the “best interests” of South Africa.
Opposition parties have said Zuma should not give the speech and had called for a postponement. Some opposition legislators have disrupted past appearances by Zuma in the parliament.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation says South Africa’s scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma must go “sooner rather than later” and that any delay would lead to violent conflict.
The non-profit group on Tuesday adds that Zuma’s departure would not be enough to address deep-rooted corruption in one of Africa’s most developed countries.
The organization promotes the legacy of South Africa’s anti-apartheid leader and first black president.
The group first called for Zuma to resign more than a year ago.
The president has been enmeshed in a series of scandals but denies wrongdoing. Many members of the ruling African National Congress party have turned against him. They worry he hurts the party ahead of 2019 elections.
Pressure is growing as Zuma is set to deliver a state of the nation address on Thursday.