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Africa South African presidential address postponed over opposition threats

SOUTH Africa’s parliament postponed Wednesday’s State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma today over opposition threats of disruption.

Speaker Baleka Mbete announced the decision today a day after ANC supporters attacked a Hands Off Zuma march in the financial capital Johannesburg.

An official statement said there was “little likelihood of an uneventful joint sitting” of the Cape Town parliament after “calls for disruption” from the opposition.

The National Freedom Party, a splinter from the Inkatha Freedom Party, told Mr Zuma today to resign to “avoid what we have seen in Zimbabwe” before last year’s military intervention to remove president Robert Mugabe.

Ms Mbete said officials had approached Mr Zuma “to propose that we postpone the joint sitting in order to create room for establishing a much more conducive political atmosphere in parliament.”

Mr Zuma told them at a meeting he was already writing to ask for a delay. A new date for the address would be announced soon, the statement said.

The ANC national working committee said yesterday that it had called a meeting of the 80-member national executive committee for today to discuss the “transition” between Mr Zuma’s presidency and Mr Ramaphosa’s.

Despite losing the backing of ANC-allied union federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, Mr Zuma still has the support of the ANC Women’s League, Youth League and the MK Military Veterans Association.

Hundreds of Zuma supporters are due to march on the capital Pretoria later today to “protect their president against a coup,” the New Age daily reported.

A close presidential adviser said yesterday’s “unwarranted” attacks on several women supporters from the Black Land First campaign outside ANC HQ were a “declaration of war.”

Cosatu condemned the assault, accusing police of doing “nothing.”

It praised the ANC Johannesburg region for “its hasty response” in dealing with Zone 12 branch secretary Thabiso Setona, who was photographed at a police station yesterday evening after the attack.

“There is no amount of justification to perpetrate violence against women,” said Cosatu.

The ANC Women’s League welcomed the party’s decision to discipline Mr Setona and urged him to name his accomplices.

Right-wing motormouth Katie Hopkins has been detained in South Africa after being accused by the country's authorities of “spreading racial hatred.”

The presenter, who has been in South Africa filming a documentary she's making on what she branded "military-style" attacks on the country's white farmers, told her followers on Twitter that she had been temporarily banned from getting on her flight home.


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