President's address to the nation gets new time

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint sitting of Parliament at 19h00 on 11 February, his office announced on Monday.

Traditionally, Parliament opened on a Friday morning, with the President's speech to a joint sitting of the houses of the legislature being delivered at 11am.

The presidency said Zuma proposed an unprecedented change to enable more people to follow the ceremony on television.

"The President changed the time to 19h00 to afford all South Africans, especially the workers, students and school children an opportunity to watch the proceedings in their homes after hours.

"The majority of workers do not have access to television sets at work, while students and school children are naturally unable to watch due to study commitments during the day when this is an important occasion for them as well," said the Presidency in a statement.

The SONA is an annual event, where the President delivers his speech capturing the expectations that South Africans have of government as a whole in meeting the many demands of service delivery.

The day will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of former President Nelson Mandela from prison.

The day will bring all South Africans together to mark the defining moment in the history of the country, including the unbanning of liberation organisations which had happened on the 2nd of February, said the Presidency.

"The SONA will celebrate national unity and reconciliation, especially during a seminal year for the country in which South Africa hosts the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup."