The brass is being polished and the stage is being set for guests and Parliamentarians, who will this evening get their marching orders from President Cyril Ramaphosa, as he delivers the 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA).
President Ramaphosa will at 7pm this evening take to the podium to address a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament – the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
Here, he is expected to chart the course for the implementation of the 2019–2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), following the 8 May 2019 National and Provincial Elections.
South Africans will have their eyes and ears glued to television screens, radio sets and social media platforms as the President – in his fourth SONA – dissects government’s 2020 programme of action.
Former Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and F W de Klerk, as well as former National Assembly Speakers Baleka Mbete and Dr Frene Ginwala are among the guests who have confirmed attendance at the much-anticipated event. Miss Universe Zozi Tunzi is also expected to be among dignitaries in the gallery.
The Parliamentary precinct has this week been abuzz with activity ahead of the event, with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) band rehearsing and officials making their final arrangements.
A series of mobile broadcast stations will be set up for the media, where analysts and experts will unpack the expectations of the SONA.
While Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise has affirmed that Parliament is ready to host this year’s SONA, she said the institution was sensitive to the prevailing economic challenges and some of the aspects of the ceremony have been cut back to ensure Parliament is prudent with the budget.
Themed #GrowSA, today’s occasion is expected to focus the nation’s attention on the symbolism and ceremonial content of South Africa’s democracy, as well as on the substance of renewal and growth at a time when South Africans wish to see and experience inclusive and sustainable growth that creates jobs and sustains communities.
Gathering momentum from the past two years’ Thuma Mina (Send Me) clarion call of action, President Ramaphosa’s speech this year is expected to shift gear, focusing on the call for the country to realise and propel its abundant potential.
Significant inroads in the two years have already set the country on a growth trajectory.
The address will be broadcast on SABC television and radio channels. It will be livestreamed on the Parliamentary website, and public viewing sites have been set up at various locations in provinces. South Africans can also track the conversation on social media by following @SAgovnews and #SONA2020 on Twitter.