Parliament ready for SONA

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Parliament is ready to put on a show on Thursday for the State of the Nation Address, says Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the address to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces at 7pm. This will be his second SONA following his election in February 2018.

The State of the Nation Address is an opportunity for the President to take stock of challenges faced by the nation but also of progress made.

A day before the all-important event, the Parliamentary precinct was a hive of activity with the final touches were being made and rehearsals taking place.

The makeshift stage in front of the National Assembly, where the President will stand on Thursday, is already set up and the scaffolding for the media is also erected.

On Wednesday, the Presiding Officers of Parliament, Mbete and NCOP Chairperson Thandi Modise, did an inspection around the parliamentary precinct to assess the state of readiness to host the 5th term’s last SONA.

“We have already briefed the President yesterday in terms of the ability to host [him] to come and address our people, about the state of South Africa and the state of the areas of which we had promised, and the President specifically, a year ago had, about the nation.

“So we are really at this point putting the final touches and just making sure that tomorrow everything will go smoothly,” Mbete said during the inspection.

The Speaker assessed Parliament’s readiness by walking from the National Council of Provinces, past the Old Assembly – where the red carpet will be laid – right up to the stairs of the National Assembly.

The Presiding Officers have met with the security cluster to go through the security plan to ensure that the precinct is secure and incident free tomorrow.

“We have looked at areas of arrangements that address certain specific concerns that are based on the professional understanding of the security needs when you have an occasion such as the one we are going to have tomorrow.” –