Parliament ready for SONA

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Parliament says it is ready for the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which will be delivered by newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was sworn into office on Thursday by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. He takes over from Jacob Zuma, who resigned as Head of State after the governing ANC recalled him.

In a statement on Thursday, Parliament said SONA will involve a ceremonial parade exhibiting military traditions, drills and the ethos of the army, the navy and the air force of the Republic of South Africa.

“This includes a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the South African National Defence Force, a military band, a salute flight by the South African Air Force and a 21-gun salute.

“Processions on the red carpet from the Slave Lodge to the National Assembly building will reflect the three arms of the State – the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive. The civilian participation lining the red carpet from the Slave Lodge to the saluting dais in front of the National Assembly building will be a Junior Guard of Honour of learners from secondary schools in the Western Cape Winelands, a Civil Guard of Honour consisting of representatives from three civil society organisations working with women and children and survivors of gender-based violence (Saartjie Baartman in Athlone, St Anne’s in Woodstock and Liefdesnessie in Bredasdorp) and nine Eminent Persons, selected by Provincial Legislatures in recognition of their contribution to our democracy.

“A total of 1 120 guests have been invited to form part of this important occasion. They are drawn from all sectors of society, including youth, women, representatives of statutory and Constitutional institutions (such as the Chapter 9 institutions supporting democracy), international organisations, Heads of Foreign Mission (the diplomatic corps), representatives of the House of Traditional Leaders, the Mayor of Cape Town, representatives from civil society organisations, religious bodies, State-owned enterprises, business and trade organisations, trade union federations, academic and research institutions,” Parliament said.

Members of the media and other stakeholders are advised of the following:

Media access

Only accredited media will be allowed access to the parliamentary precinct on Friday. A special entrance for the media will be created next to the Roeland Street entrance at the Flame of Remembrance. This is to enable ease of access and avoid delays for the members of the media.

All media participating in the State of the Nation Address will enter through this entrance. This entrance will open at 4am on Friday to accommodate early morning live broadcasts.

Members of the parliamentary Press Gallery Association (PGA), who occupy offices in the precincts of Parliament, will have free access to and from their offices, taking into account general restrictions related to the red-carpet ceremonial processions.


Parliament has finalised a list of media representatives who will cover the 2018 State of the Nation Address scheduled for Friday. The approved list of accredited media representatives/journalists has been published on Parliament’s official website. This was to enable those who have applied to check their names. Not all those who have applied have been accredited, as some were found not to be journalists, while others provided incorrect ID numbers.

Only media whose names appear on the approved accreditation list may collect their accreditation tags. Accreditation tags may be collected only from the accreditation centre at the Government Garage - 49 Hope Street, Cape Town.

Accreditation already issued to media, guests and staff of Parliament and government will need to be validated. Media who collected their accreditation earlier should report to the Imbizo Centre in the 120 Plein Street building. On Thursday, 15 February the accreditation centre will be open from 16:00 to midnight. On Friday, the accreditation will be open from 7:00 to 16:00

All accredited broadcasters are expected to set up and lay their cables by 15:00 on Thursday, 15 February.

A representative group of accredited media will be allocated seats in the Media Bays of the National Assembly Chamber. These bays can accommodate only 66 people. The allocation of the 66 seats has been handled in collaboration with the parliamentary Press Gallery Association (PGA).

There will be a compulsory briefing for media in possession of accreditation tags on Friday, 16 February from 14:00. The venue for this briefing is the Imbizo Centre in the 120 Plein Street building. Entry is from Parliament Street, opposite the Old Assembly Building.

All further details of media arrangements for 16 February will be made available at the Flame of Remembrance check-in point for accredited media. These will include media dos and don’ts and contact details for relevant officials. 

Access points on 16 February 

Hope Street, Nieuwmeester, Garmor House and St. Mary’s: These parking facilities will be closed for normal parking on 16 February.

Hope Street parking facility will not be available from 15 February 2018. Permit holders who usually park here will have to make alternative arrangements. 

Belvedere entrance: This entrance will be open 24 hours and can be used by accredited persons to enter the Parliamentary complex on foot.

Good Hope parking: This parking facility will not be available for permit holders to park their vehicles. The vehicles of former Presidents, former Presiding Officers, former Judge Presidents and the President of the Pan African Parliament will park in this facility. 

Vehicular entrance next to the Visitors’ Centre: This entrance will be closed for the day. No pedestrians will be allowed access at this entrance.

Lelie Street entrance will be open from 15 February at 22:00 for accredited pedestrians and vehicles. All vehicles must enter through the search park from where they will be escorted to Parliament. No deliveries will be allowed access after 14:00. No buses will be allowed access on the day of the event.

At 14:00, Lelie Street will be closed off between 120 Plein Street and Marks Building for movement of vehicles. This will allow for the red carpet to be positioned in preparation for the ceremony.

Parliament Street entrance: This entrance will be open from 6:30am till 14:00. From 14:00, this entrance will be restricted in preparation for the event. 

Visitors’ Centre: This entrance will be opened at 6:30am until the close of business.

100 Plein Street entrance: This entrance will be open 24 hours for accredited persons and vehicles. 

90 Plein Street small gate entrance: This entrance will be open from 9am until the close of business. This entrance will also facilitate high volumes of Members of Parliament entering the precinct upon arrival with buses. 

NCOP entrance and service entrance: These entrances will be open from 6:30am until 14:00, after which they will be restricted for the ceremony. The NCOP service entrance will be used for members of the media in case of the wet weather plan deployment. 

Poorthuys entrance: Open from 6:30am until close of business.

National Assembly entrance: This entrance will be closed for normal access, as it will be prepared and used as the ceremonial entrance. 

Marks Building main entrance: The entrance will be open from 6.30 until 14.00.

Marks Building Members’ entrance: The entrance will be open from 6.30 until close of business. –

Most Read

SA News on Facebook

SAnews on Twitter