National Assembly alive with activity

Friday, February 6, 2009

Parliament - The National Assembly is alive with activity and excitement, ahead of President Kgalema Motlanthe's State of the Nation Address on Friday morning.

Most of the ministers have already arrived including Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan, Education Minister Naledi Pandor, Health Minister Barbara Hogan and Defence Minister Charles Nqakula.

Foreign ambassadors, High Commissioners and other distinguished guests have also made their way to the gallery. The winners of the annual Parliamentary writing competition are also there, they had to write an essay on the importance of Parliament in South Africa.

Politicians have also taken their spot including IFP leader Mangosutho Buthelezi, Cape Town Mayor and DA leader Helen Zille, ANC leader Jocob Zuma as well as COPE leader and former Minister of Defence Mosiuoa Lekota.

Danny Jordaan, the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee and mining magnate Patrice Motsepe and businessman Tokyo Sexwale are also in attendance.

Deputy Foreign Minister of Qatar, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Rumaihi, who had met with South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Sue van der Merwe earlier this week to discuss strengthening bilateral relations, also took his place among the dignitaries.

Meanwhile, outside members of the public are standing along Adderley Street and Hertzog Boulevard to catch a glimpse of President Kgalema Motlanthe and Deputy President Baleke Mbete at they make their way to Parliament.

The SA Navy Band has been set up outside the National Assembly building, while the military ensemble band is playing outside the entrance to the Library of Parliament in Government Avenue.

The Junior Guard of Honour, which includes learners bearing South African flags, and the Civil Guard, composed of representatives of civil society will line the red carpet to welcome the procession.

As the Presidential convoy arrives, the Military Band and the Ceremonial Guard are expected to march up Parliament Street.

President Motlanthe will arrive at the intersection of Parliament and Bureau Streets to walk along the red carpet and into the National Assembly.