Parliament session

African Presidents have not made it an especially novel sight to catch a leader napping at important gatherings. That is to say, a couple of them have been caught doing it and it seems South Africa’s President Zuma has joined their ranks.

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President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is the one most embroiled in gaffes of the sleeping nature but this morning South Africans will be waking up to news of how their President nodded off during the Parliament session, in the period of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s lengthy address.

Parliament session

It was not a great time to be caught napping considering South Africa’s economy has been badly rattled with a number of issues ranging from the amount of money to be allocated to education funding to the political row that the Finance Minister himself has gotten himself into.

For these reasons, a bulk of South Africans were focused yesterday on what the Finance Minister had to say at the Parliament session and one would expect their President’s attention to be more so.

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Local news websites in South Africa have put their own spins on the gaffe, while the Times Live news website simply reckons that he was dozing, Rha Media tweeted; “Zuma is Clearly praying not sleeping!”

Parliament session

The Rand Daily Mail news site took it a step further and gave five possible excuses that the President could use:

  • I was checking my Twitter timeline
  • My ear was itchy, I was rubbing it on my shoulder
  • I was trying to listen to what ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu was muttering under his breath behind me
  • I concentrate better when my eyes are closed
  • Sleep is just an alternative state of consciousness.

To be fair, in the video from parliament’s YouTube channel President Zuma is shown as being awake just over a minute later. His office is yet to comment on the circulating reports.