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Parliament gears up for this year’s Sona

Parliament’s presiding officers on Wednesday briefed the media on the state of readiness for Sona which takes place next week Thursday.

FILE: Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Arrangements are in place for the final State of the Nation Address (Sona) of the current term of Parliament which ends after the general elections.

Parliament’s presiding officers on Wednesday, led by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, briefed the media on the state of readiness for Sona which takes place next week Thursday.

The address affords the president an opportunity to speak to the nation on the general state of South Africa, economically and politically.

This Sona is the last for Parliament’s current term but it won’t be the last one this year.

Parliament is expected to host another Sona after the elections once a new administration is elected.

Mbete says preparations began last year and Parliament is confident it will host a successful event.

“[With] 2019 being an election year, the work of hosting the two states of the nation addresses, one signifying the end of the fifth term of Parliament and the second one, the ushering in of the sixth Parliament and administration is underway.”

After the address, Parliament will jointly debate the president’s address for two days on 12 and 13 February.

EFF THREATS TO DISRUPT SONA

Parliament says it is not worried about any possible disruptions from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at this year’s Sona.

Last week, EFF leader Julius Malema threatened to turn the Sona into a question-and-answer session if President Cyril Ramaphosa does not account for his role in the Bosasa scandal before the end of the month.

Malema said if Ramaphosa does not come clean about his son’s relationship with the controversial company, his party will do what it did to former President Jacob Zuma.

But National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise says Parliament will not turn itself into a war machine because of the EFF’s statements.

“We will apply the rules as we have, so we are not going to put any extraordinary measures. I accept that since 2014 we have had a few surprises but we will make do with whatever we have.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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