Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has assured South Africans that preparations for the hosting of the 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday are well underway.
At a media briefing on Tuesday at the Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town, the Speaker thanked the City of Cape Town for availing the City Hall for this year’s Joint Sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, and for the hosting of the State of the Nation Address.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the 2023 SONA at the Cape Town City Hall. His address is scheduled to start at 7pm.
Mapisa-Nqakula said the City has handed over the City Hall to Parliament.
“The City Hall is now officially a precinct of Parliament, as per the definition of the precincts of Parliament provided for in Section 2 of the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.”
Mapisa-Nqakula said in addition to the State of the Nation Address, the Hall will also host the two-day debate on the President’s address by the Joint Sitting of the Houses, the reply to the debate by the President and the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance on Wednesday, 22 February.
The Speaker explained that the theme under which the Joint Sitting of Parliament will be held remains the sixth Parliament’s focus, which is ‘Following up on our commitments to the people: Making your future work better’.
According to the Speaker, the 2023 State of the Nation Address will be fully physical and all attendees, including Members of Parliament and invited guests, will be present in the Chamber and the public gallery.
“We can confirm that similar to last year, this year’s proceedings of SONA 2023 will follow the full ceremony format.
“Activities undertaken and observed during a full ceremony include the Flame Guard, the 21-gun salute, an aircraft flypast, the lining of the route, the Ceremonial Guard, the Salute of the Step Guard, the singing of the National Anthem, the full Military Band and the ceremonial processions of the Provincial Speakers, Premiers, the Judiciary, the Deputy President and the President.
“The President will take a salute at the platform prepared in front of the statue of uTata Madiba, which is on the balcony of the City Hall, where he will observe the singing of the National Anthem by the South African National Defence Force Military Band, synchronised with the 21-gun salute and flypast,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
Over 650 members of the media have been accredited to cover the event. The names of the accredited members of the media were published on Parliament’s official website last week, with details of areas to collect the access tags.
The Parliamentary Broadcast and Audio Visual Unit will provide a broadcast feed to all television stations that will be broadcasting from the precinct. The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will provide an audio feed for all radio stations.
This will be the second year the City Hall hosts the State of the Nation Address after a fire destroyed parts of the Parliamentary building.
The fire affected both the Old Assembly Wing and the National Assembly Wing, which house the chambers of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
Source: South African Government News Agency