Preparations, rehearsals in full swing ahead of SONA

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cape Town – There was much movement in and around the Parliamentary precinct on Tuesday afternoon as officials geared up for President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

This after Parliament’s Presiding Officers announced that it was all systems go in as far as preparations are concerned ahead of the event, which will be aired live on television, radio and at a number of public screening events in the provinces on Thursday evening at 7pm.

Outside 120 Plein Street near the entrance of Parliament, local and international media personnel have stationed their outside broadcasting vans and were busy setting up their equipment.

Media have also set up temporary structures to accommodate cameramen who will be capturing the pomp and ceremony leading up to the official start of SONA.

Just after 4pm, members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) kick-started rehearsals in front of the bust of the late and former President Nelson Mandela positioned in front of the stairs leading to the National Assembly.

It is expected that when dry runs are held on Wednesday, temporary road closures around Parliament will be in effect.

When the President arrives ahead of 7pm on Thursday to deliver the speech, junior and civil guards of honour and nine eminent persons will line the route from the Slave Lodge to the National Assembly building.

The eminent persons are selected by provincial legislatures, in recognition of their contribution to the country’s democracy.

The Presiding Officers announced that for the first time a female praise singer will lead President Zuma into the National Assembly Chamber delivering a praise song in Sepedi.

The event be a full ceremonial occasion, involving a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the SANDF and a and a 21-gun salute. – SAnews.gov.za

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