National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has announced that former president Jacob Zuma has been invited to attend this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).
The event, which is expected to cost nearly R7 million, will be held at the Cape Town City Hall and will be attended by over 400 people.
During a media briefing, Mapisa-Nqakula emphasized the significance of this year’s Sona, as it marks South Africa’s 30 years of democracy and is the final Sona of the current parliamentary five-year-term.
She also mentioned that preparations are underway for the opening of the seventh Parliament and for welcoming the new generation of members of Parliament.
In addition to Zuma, other special guests invited to the event include former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, Chief Justice Zondo, and Deputy Chief Justice Maya, among others.
The event will see approximately 490 Members of Parliament and representatives of the South African Local Government Association (Salga) seated in the chamber. Both the chamber and the public gallery will accommodate all attendees, including members of Parliament and invited guests.
Furthermore, the Cape Town City Hall, designated as the parliamentary precinct, will also host a two-day debate on the president’s address, featuring a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reply to the debate and the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana’s Budget Speech, will also take place at the same venue a few days later.
Overall, the preparations for this year’s State of the Nation Address are well underway, with the inclusion of esteemed guests and the significance of the event as a milestone in South Africa’s democratic journey.