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Parliament to kick off the year under dark COVID-19 cloud

The State of the Nation Address and the associated spectacle that kicks-off the legislative year are usually planned months in advance.

Some members of Parliament in the House while others connect virtually on 23 June 2020. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - It's unclear at this stage whether Parliament's official start to the year will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State of the Nation Address and the associated spectacle that kicks-off the legislative year are usually planned months in advance.

There's a sharp rise in infections expected in various provinces in the coming weeks - which could force parliament to scale-back the State of the Nation floorshow.

The opening of Parliament is usually a spectacular affair, military bands, judge processions and politicians doing fashion twirls on the red carpet.

But this year, the president's State of the Nation Address will play out against the backdrop of a raging pandemic.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said what they were certain of was that the president's address would go ahead as planned on 11 February, officially kicking off the parliamentary year.

“Sona, as usual, will take place but given the conditions of COVID-19, the presiding officers will announce to the public as to how it will take place this year."

As to the details, he said the speaker would finalise plans and brief the nation at the end of the month.

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