Ruffles, top hats and dazzling outfits have over the years become synonymous with the State of the Nation address (Sona) and while government has implemented austerity measures, many will be watching the proceedings.
According to parliament’s presiding officers, R7.3 million was budgeted for both Sonas. The June 2019 Sona, which also served as the official opening of the sixth democratic parliament, cost the institution R2.6 million.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to deliver the 2020 Sona in a national broadcast at 7pm today.
The president speaks to the nation on the state of South Africa while also reflecting on a wide range of political, economic and social matters within domestic and global contexts.
Former heads of state, presiding officers, the diplomatic corps, guests of the president, representatives from civil society, faith-based organisations, as well as representatives of statutory and constitutional institutions are a permanent feature on the guest list.
Proceedings will kick off at about 4.30pm with the arrival of members of the judiciary, Cabinet ministers and MPs, including the speakers of the various provincial legislatures, premiers and diplomats at the Company Gardens entrance in Government Avenue to the Old Assembly.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will line the president’s route to parliament, while the military band will play top tunes while awaiting the Ramaphosa’s arrival. A 21-gun salute will also form part of the sights and sounds.
The country’s former presidents, deputy presidents, as well as former National Assembly speakers and former chief justices are also invited.
Their arrival at the parliamentary precinct will be followed by a procession of parliament’s presiding officers, Deputy President David Mabuza and President Ramaphosa.
The president will take the national salute on a podium outside the National Assembly building, which includes the 21-gun salute. At the same time, a fly-past by the South African Air Force will take place.
Praise singer Masingita Shibambu, who is also known as Ntombhi Ya Mutsonga from Matiyani Village in Limpopo’s Malamulele, will usher in the president with a Xitsonga poem.