Mbete, Modise concede ground on troop deployment in Parly

The build-up to Sona has been marred by controversies over heightened security measures, including the deployment of soldiers to help police “maintain law and order”.

FILE: National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete (left) and National Council of Provinces chair Thandi Modise (right). Picture: YouTube

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly Speaker and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces are giving an update on readiness for the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

President Jacob Zuma will spell out government’s programme for the year on Thursday night.

The build-up to Sona has been marred by controversies over heightened security measures, including the deployment of more than 400 soldiers to help police “maintain law and order”.

Opposition parties the Democratic Alliance (DA) the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the National Freedom Party (NFP) met with Speaker Baleka Mbete and NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise on Wednesday afternoon over the use of troops.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said: “We did manage to get a concession out of the chairperson and the Speaker, who claim they were not part of the requesting of the deployment that was done by the president.

"The concession is that (none of that) SANDF deployment will be allowed to do any function other than ceremonial on the parliamentary precinct.”

Steenhuisen says, however, it’s still unacceptable that soldiers will be used outside Parliament.

WATCH: Parliament briefs media on State of readiness for Sona