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Parly cuts civil guards of honour, eminent persons to keep Sona costs in check

The budget for Sona, which takes place next week Thursday, has come down drastically over the years and Speaker Thandi Modise said the cost-cutting would continue.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa, First Lady Tshepo Motsepe and National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise at Sona 2019. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Parliament said it would slash the cost of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) again this year.

The budget for Sona, which takes place next week Thursday, has come down drastically over the years and Speaker Thandi Modise said the cost-cutting would continue.

“A total of R7.3 million has been budgeted for both events. The June Sona cost us R2.6 million. Consistent with the trend, indications are that spending on both events will be far less than the budgeted amount.”

This has resulted in the withdrawal of the civil guards of honour and eminent persons, and the involvement of the radio programme winners.

Modise added: “We remain vigilant and sensitive to the economic challenges we face and therefore the budget for Sona has been carefully designed to ensure that key features of the ceremony are retained.”

This will be the second Sona this financial year, following the address in June after President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected.

Modise announced that the theme for this year’s Sona was the same as that of the sixth Parliament: "Following up on our commitments: making your future work better".

The Speaker said that in addition to making laws, conducting oversight and promoting public participation, Parliament would also continue to strengthen transparency, accountability and responsiveness to the needs of the people to ensure a truly non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.

Sona will be broadcast live on radio and TV and will be streamed live on Parliament’s website, DStv (channel 408) and YouTube.