Cape Town: The Parliamentary Precinct in Cape Town’s city centre is abuzz with activity ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address. The President is expected to outline government’s priorities for the year and officially open Parliament at 7pm on Thursday.
The address will be broadcast live on radio and television as well as streamed live on Parliament’s website.
The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) has arranged for the address to be broadcast on big screens at a variety of venues in all provinces.
The early morning mist has disappeared and the sun is shining as security is being beefed up; media are setting up their booths from where they will broadcast interviews and parliamentary staff are ensuring the final preparations are wrapped up and that the National Assembly is perfect.
The red carpet and platform leading up the National Assembly, where dignitaries will show off their fashion, and is being allotted and large screens are being tested.
The South African Air Force on Tuesday practised the flyover above Parliament, which is scheduled to happen as the President arrives at the steps of the National Assembly. There will also be a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the SA National Defence Force and a 21-gun salute.
Special State of the Nation Address banners have been erected along the precinct’s roads, many of which will be closed to traffic later today and tomorrow.
Some of the invited guests include the country’s top matriculants from last year, businesspeople, diplomats, former President Thabo Mbeki and his wife Zanele, former Deputy Presidents Baleka Mbete and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former President FW de Klerk and Elita de Klerk, former Chief Justice Pius Langa and former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Frene Ginwala, among others.
In his address tomorrow, Zuma is not only expected to focus on the National Development Plan, but he will also provide an update on all key programmatic areas, especially the five priorities, education, health, creating decent work, the fight against crime as well as rural development and land reform.
He will also outline progress made in the implementation of the New Growth Path, the economic strategy within the NDP.
The Presidency has invited members of the public to send their comments on what they would like to see in Zuma’s speech on Facebook at www.facebook.com/presidencyza and twitter at @PresidencyZA.