#Sona2017: As many as 5,000 SAPS members reportedly deployed

The number is yet to be confirmed by police but the DA says it intends putting forward a parliamentary question in this regard.

Police set up road blocks outside and around Parliament for #Sona2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN – It’s believed as many as 5,000 South African Police Service members will police the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

This is yet to be confirmed by police but the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape says it intends putting forward a parliamentary question in this regard.

The party says if true, it’s an insult to crime-stricken communities.

“In 2015, there was 1,277 Western Cape police officers that were deployed to the Sona. Now this number of police officers is more than the entire staff of Nyanga, Manenberg, Mitchells Plain and other areas combined.”

ZUMA 'NOT UNDER PRESSURE'

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma says he’s not under pressure at all ahead of the Sona, as concerns mount over the deployment of extra soldiers to Parliament.

The president says he’s feeling calm about delivering his speech in the next few hours.

“I don’t have pressure, because I don’t allow pressure to rule me. I do my work and I know people take it in different ways. That’s their right as democrats.”

Zuma has deployed 441 soldiers to help the police maintain law and order as he opens Parliament on Thursday.

This includes an expanded no-go zone around Parliament, reams of barbed wire and a significant army presence.

It will be the last state of the nation address that Zuma will give as leader of the African National Congress (ANC), although his term as the country’s president expires only in 2019.

The president hosted a number of guests at his official residence in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Speaking to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Zuma shared he is excited ahead of proceedings.

“Today we’re looking forward to the State of the Nation Address. The time and day has come where we’ll talk to the nation. We are very happy that this moment has come.”

#Sona2017 road closures

Make sure you avoid these roads on Thursday when President Jacob Zuma delivers the 2017 Sona in Parliament.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)