Cape Town abuzz ahead of SONA

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cape Town - Perfect weather conditions is smiling on Cape Town today, as the city gets ready for the 15th State of the Nation Address and the first one to be delivered by President Kgalema Motlanthe.

From the early hours of the morning, television crews started setting up outside Parliament, where the President is to deliver his address at Parliament's National Assembly Chamber at 11am.

A heavy south easter wind, which swept across the city on Thursday, came to an abrupt halt on Friday morning, to the relief of many of the female delegates, who traditionally use the occasion to deck out in their traditional outfits.

Temperatures are expected to soar to 34 degrees in the Mother City, a far cry from the usual rainy weather the city has experienced at some of the more recent SONAs.

The SA Navy Band has started setting up outside the National Assembly and the military ensemble band has just arrived to set up.

Parliament's theme for this year's State of the Nation Address is "Parliament entrenching people-centred democracy in achieving development goals".

The theme emphasises Parliament's function of monitoring and evaluation over the executive.

Traditionally, the State of the Nation Address is an annual event, where the President delivers his speech outlining governments Programme of Action for the year. However, this year, the address comes as the current President's tenure ends.

Parliament said this year, the SONA, would only cover the tenure of the entire 3rd Parliament from 2004 to 2009.

In true tradition, the Presiding Officers have promised a day rich with ceremonial splendour.

On arrival, President Motlanthe will be received by the Presiding Officers at Slave Lodge. He will be accompanied by the Presiding Officers as they walk the red carpet, meeting people and watching cultural performances.

At the steps of the National Assembly, President Motlanthe will take the gun salute from the military.

Lining the red carpet will be eminent South Africans, from all nine provinces, a Civil Guard of Honour, drawn from civil society development organisations, and a Junior Guard of Honour, drawn from schools in the Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

The State of the Nation Address will take place from 11am until noon when the House will be adjourned.

Members of Parliament and special guests will then be invited to a luncheon.

During his speech, the President addresses the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary arms of the state.

The address will be broadcast live on big public screens in all nine provinces. Members of Parliament will also be lined up to be interviewed by the media on the day.

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