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Modise confident Parliament's rules sufficient to deal with any Sona disruptions

President Cyril Ramaphosa will spell out the government’s plan of action for the year during a joint sitting of both houses on 11 February.

FILE: The Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said that she believed that Parliament’s rules were sufficient to manage any potential disruption of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) next month.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will spell out the government’s plan of action for the year during a joint sitting of both houses on 11 February.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been stripped of all ceremonial frills, including the red carpet, processions, guards of honour and praise singers.

Only 50 people will be allowed into the chamber, in line with COVID-19 regulations.

It will be a very different State of the Nation Address this year. While it will be broadcast live as usual, the chamber will be almost empty, with most participants connected online.

Speaker Thandi Modise was asked whether she felt Parliament’s rules for hybrid sittings will be enough to prevent any disruption of President Ramaphosa’s speech:

"The joint rules for the sittings are adequate – you will also remember that we have had many hybrid and virtual meetings of both houses and, in fact, two sittings that were joint. And the rules have been applied – applied equally and without fear or favour. And that is what we intend to do. We think our rules are adequate."

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have made a point of disrupting Sona proceedings in the past.

Parties will debate Ramaphosa’s speech on the Tuesday and Wednesday (February 16 and 17) the following week. Ramaphosa will reply to the debate on Thursday, 18 February.

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