President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver the 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday 10, February 2022 in an environment that continues to be challenging.
In spite of logistical challenges associated with preparing for the 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA), National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says Parliament is ready to host the event on Thursday.
For the first time in South African history, the SONA will be delivered outside the Parliament precinct, after the building was gutted in a fire in January.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the SONA which also reflects on successes, challenges, as well as outline interventions needed, will take place at the Cape Town City Hall, this Thursday.
Addressing the media on the 2022 SONA state of readiness, Mapisa-Nqakula said organising this year’s event had been a logistical nightmare, saying the fire threw preparations into uncharted waters.
She said: “The eleventh hour change in the venue has caused a serious setback in the planning and preparations, which ordinarily begin several months in advance. Parliament, in cooperation with the executive, has had to swiftly adjust and set in motion an around-the-clock, intensive implementation of programme of action plan to ensure SONA is neither derailed nor delayed”.
The SONA is traditionally delivered by the President before a joint sitting of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The SONA sets out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead.
While the move from the historic parliamentary precinct is not ideal, the City Hall is also a venue of historical significance having served as the place where Nelson Mandela addressed the nation after his release from prison on 11 February 1990.
The Cape Town City Hall was where former President Nelson Mandela on February 11, 1990 addressed thousands of South Africans for the first time after his release from 27 years of incarceration.
The theme for the 2022 SONA “Following up on our commitments: making your future work better”, is consistent with the theme of South Africa’s 6th Parliament.
This theme reinforces the character of a people’s Parliament and the spirit of the Constitution, which enjoins us to entrench and deepen democracy, and improve the quality of life of all South Africans.
This year, as per tradition, President Ramaphosa will be ushered in by Imbongi Mosimanegape Jeremiah Jason, who will recite his poem in SeTswana. The 31-year-old Jason is from Manthe village, in Taung, in the North-West Province.
The National Assembly will be represented as follows in the (physical) Chamber: African National Congress (138); Democratic Alliance (50); Economic Freedom Fighters (26); Inkatha Freedom Party (8); Freedom Front Plus (6) and African Christian Democratic Party (2). The remaining eight smaller political parties, UDM, ATM, GOOD, NFP, AIC, COPE, PAC and AL JAMA-AH will each be represented by one MP.
The NCOP seats will be allocated as follows: ANC (26); DA (12); EFF (seven); FF Plus (one); SALGA (five) and nine Premiers.
She said dignitaries invited for physical attendance include former Presidents, former Presiding Officers, SADC-PF President, Dean and the Regional Deans of the Diplomatic Corps and Secretaries of Provincial Legislatures.
Former President Thabo Mbeki; former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; and former Speakers of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, Max Sisulu and Frene Ginwala had all confirmed attendance.
“After the President’s address, the two Houses of Parliament will debate the address over two days, 14-15 February, and the President will reply on 16 February.