Historic State of the Nation address

COUNTDOWN. Making final preparations ahead of the State of the Nation adress by President Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

Jubilation was the order of the day in Parliament yesterday when members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) took part in parade rehearsals ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s much-awaited State of the Nation address tonight.

READ MORE: Opposition slams Zuma on jobs, corruption promises

The SANDF members will form a guard of honour when Zuma makes his way up the long red carpet leading to the National Assembly, where his speech will be broadcast live on radio and television from 7pm

The parliamentary precinct was a flurry of activity as uniformed pupils practised for their starring roles. Also practising were those responsible for the air force fly-past and the traditional 21-gun salute.

Workers in overalls were busy ensuring that the long red carpet was swept clean, lights are in working order and draping secured. Police and security staff paced the cobblestones in the parliamentary precinct.

Nelson Mandela Boulevard, Roeland Street, Plein Street, Klipper Road in Newlands and Adderley Street from Wale Street to Table Bay Boulevard in the vicinity of Parliament were closed from 6pm last night. Parking within Parliament was already  closed off for the public.

Zuma’s address is a full ceremonial event involving a mounted police escort and a military ceremonial motor escort.

Parliamentary spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs said those invited include Zuma’s special guests, political leaders, businesspeople diplomats. He said former deputy president Baleka Mbete and erstwhile Speaker of the

National Assembly Frene Gingwala will also attend the event. Rebecca Kotane, 102, mother of the longest-serving general secretary of the Communist Party of SA, which later became SA Communist Party, Moses Kotane, has also been invited. This year marks 20 years of democracy and the fifth time South Africans will go to the polls.

today in print

today in print