Parliament is confident of hosting another successful State of the Nation Address on behalf of all South Africans, as has been the case over the past 20 years of democracy.
This was the message from the Secretary to Parliament, Mr Gengezi Mgidlana, at today’s media briefing about the state of readiness for the address in eight days’ time.
The joint sitting at which the address will be delivered is a special sitting with the sole purpose of providing an opportunity for the President to account to Parliament – the people’s public representatives – and the people of South Africa about the outcome of government programmes and the general state of South Africa and to involve the people in plans for the year ahead.
The address is followed by two days of debate during which Members engage with the content of the debate and raise issues. The President replies to the Members’ debate on a third day.
The ceremony on 12 February will again include a public participation component, first introduced by former President Nelson Mandela, with Junior Guards of Honour, Civil Guards of Honour and Eminent Persons lining the route from the Slave Lodge to the steps of the National Assembly building.
To enable as many people as possible to engage with the State of the Nation Address, it will be broadcast live on radio and television and at public viewing sites in all provinces. The two days of debate and the President’s reply to the debate on the third day will also be accessible to the public through various media. Members of the public can also come to Parliament to attend the debate and the President’s reply to the debate.
The City of Cape Town and Eskom has given Parliament an undertaking that there will be no load shedding in the Parliamentary precinct on 12 February. Parliament hopes that the city and Eskom will look carefully also at the impact of load-shedding in other parts of the CBD, given the road closures and traffic restrictions on 12 February and for the rehearsals on 10 and 11 February. The institution also hopes there will not be load-shedding during the address itself, so that South Africans have the opportunity to follow the address on television and radio.
The budget allocation for this year’s address is R4 million. Costs of hosting the address have been reduced over time through various means.
Using venues in the Parliamentary precinct for functions after the address – which also eliminates transport costs to ferry guests to the function venue
Catering for mainly cocktail functions
Parliament staff doing the catering
Limiting alcoholic beverages to 640 bottles of wine for the estimated 1 700 guests expected to attend
Providing entertainment from affordable, up-and-coming local talent
The State of the Nation Address belongs to South Africa as a nation and it is the duty of Parliament and the security apparatus of the state to ensure there is adequate safety and security in and around the precinct.
Parliament’s Presiding Officers will brief media next week to provide more details about the format of the ceremony, the public participants in the ceremony, guests attending, the significance of the occasion for Parliament and related matters.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE RSA
Source : Parliament of South Africa