Spending on SONA will be “far less” than budgeted amount

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise says Parliament is ready to host this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). 

“I can confidently say we are ready to host this auspicious event. We have put in hard work to ensure that it’s all systems go next week,” the Speaker said. 

On Thursday, Modise, along with the presiding officers of Parliament, briefed media in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on the institution’s state of readiness to host SONA next week.   

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his State of the Nation Address during a joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday, 13 February. The address will be carried live on several TV and radio stations, and will also be streamed live on Parliament’s website, DStv channel and YouTube channel. 

Modise said Parliament remains vigilant and sensitive to the prevailing economic challenges, and that the budget for the annual event was carefully designed to ensure that key features of the ceremony are retained. 

“The State of the Nation Address is the second of this current financial year (2019/ 20), with the first being held in June last year following the 2019 Elections. 

“A total of R7.3 million has been budgeted for both events. The June SONA, which also served as the official opening of the sixth democratic Parliament, cost the institution R2.6 million. 

“Consistent with the trend of the previous years, indications are that the spending on both events will be far less than the budgeted amount,” Modise said. 

Some of the aspects of the ceremony have been cut back to ensure Parliament is prudent with the budget. 

Among these, the dinner for Members of Parliament and guests -- which has also been cancelled for the past few SONAs -- will not take place. Some ceremonial highlights, such as the civil guard of honor, eminent persons and the involvement of radio programme winners, has also been cut. 

The branding and advertising budget have also been considerably reduced. 

Among the guests who have confirmed their attendance at next week’s event include former Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Frederik de Klerk, and former National Assembly Speakers Baleka Mbete and Dr Frene Ginwala. – SAnews.gov.za