Many MPs opted for traditional African wear and colours, while others came adorned in ornately-beaded chiffon or feathered dresses.
ANC MP Grace Tseke drew the attention of photographers with her short white dress with green, gold, red, and blue stripes.
“I like bright colours and it’s all Ndebele colours,” she said. She wore a heavy, gold-coloured choker and carried a beaded bag as accessories.
Unlike many of her fellow MPs, Tseke chose comfort over style, rounding off her look with Converse sneakers.
Dikeledi Mahlangu, also an ANC MP, wore a mustard-coloured ruffled chiffon dress made by award-winning designer David Tlale.
There was hardly a sign of Democratic Alliance MPs, who have vowed to boycott the “red carpet” activities.
Public order policing officers entered the precinct about 90 minutes before Zuma was due to start speaking.
Dressed in black and white and wearing tags marked “high security”, they confirmed they were from the anti-riot unit.
Earlier, photographers flocked to the entrance of the National Assembly, where a statue of Walter and Albertina Sisulu made its debut.
The bronze statue depicts the Sisulus holding hands and waving, as they often did when pictured together.
Unlike the large bust of former president Nelson Mandela just metres away, which is crafted solely in bronze, the Sisulus are shown in colourful garb.
Zuma will arrive in Parliament Street after 6pm, following a cavalcade through the city’s streets, which have been cordoned off by the police.
Traffic was at a standstill in many roads in the Cape Town CBD as vehicles were diverted away from the parliamentary precinct.