Parliament approves Zuma’s request
February 01, 2018
Pretoria, South Africa:The State of the Nation Address (SONA) will go ahead as planned and will be delivered by President Jacob Zuma.
National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete today (February01, 2018 announced that the request by president Zuma to deliver the 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been approved.
Parliament's presiding officers today briefed the media on the readiness of Parliament to host the SONA on Thursday, February 08, 2018.
SONA is called by the President in terms of the Constitution through the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.
“I am not aware of any request by the presiding officers for the President not to come (sic). We have received his request to address Parliament and that has been approved. This is why these preparations are in place.
“It cannot be correct that because there is a threat of disruption, that we tell the President, as the Head of State, not to come to speak here,” said Lechesa Tsenoli, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament.
Tsenoli also called for those who have threatened to disrupt the speech to desist from doing so.
The presiding officers said they are in talks with the Department of Public Works with the aim of averting a possible negative impact the Cape Town water crisis might have on the State of the Nation Address.
“On behalf of Parliament, the presiding officers note the risks associated with the water crisis of the Western Cape – Cape Town in particular – and its potential impact on the State of the Nation Address.
“Discussions are ongoing between the Department of Public Works and other stakeholders to ensure that any potential negative impact is averted,” Mbete said.
She said this as the city braces itself for Day Zero, which is brought about by the worst drought to hit the metro in years.
SONA themed around celebrating Madiba
The Speaker said, meanwhile, that this year’s State of the Nation Address comes as the country prepares to mark the centenary anniversary of the birth of the first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela.
She said the event will be held under the theme ‘Making your future work better – learning from Madiba’.
R4.3 million budgeted for SONA
Meanwhile, Mbete added the budget for this year’s SONA has progressively decreased since 2014.
She said this was in keeping with Parliament’s commitment to manage public finances prudently.
While R9.2 million was budgeted for the 2014 SONA the actual spend was R6.3 million.
She said presiding officers were working with the security cluster to ensure that the event is secure.
About 1 120 guests have been invited to form part of the event and they are drawn from all sectors of society.
Mbete also announced that 1 000 members of the media applied for accreditation.