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Friday, May 24, 2024

What to Expect in the Upcoming State of the Nation Address

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is a significant event in South Africa’s political calendar, providing the President with an opportunity to address the nation on the government’s achievements and future plans. This year, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his last SONA of his first term of office. Here’s what we can expect from the upcoming address:

Parliament has budgeted R6.5 million for the event to be held at the Cape Town City Hall. The SONA proceedings will maintain the full ceremonial format of previous years. Road closures in and around Cape Town are scheduled for the president’s address.

Parliament bosses are hoping for order and no disruptions at this year’s event. Strict new rules adopted in December will be implemented for the first time on Thursday. These rules prohibit any member from interrupting the president while he is delivering an address. The primary aim of these rules is to maintain order and decorum in the chamber, promote civility among members, and ensure the proceedings are conducted with the respect and seriousness they deserve.

The EFF, whose top leadership including party leader Julius Malema is barred from Thursday’s events, are challenging the legality of the rules at the high court in Cape Town. This follows last year’s event where EFF MPs had to be forcibly removed by police officers after they stormed the stage during President Ramaphosa’s speech.

For this year’s SONA, parliament has reinstated “a critical element of public participation”, namely the involvement of the junior guard of honour and eminent people. The junior guard of honour will consist of 100 pupils selected from four schools in the Western Cape.

While the specific content of the President’s speech is yet to be revealed, it is expected that he will address key issues such as load shedding, unemployment, poverty, the rising cost of living, crime, corruption, and the government’s ongoing projects.

Stay tuned for the State of the Nation Address on 8th February to hear about the government’s plan of action to build a better South Africa for all.

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