A humble 2021 State of the Nation (Sona) address is taking place on Thursday evening as President Cyril Ramaphosa discusses the country’s present and future in the midst of a devastating pandemic.
On Wednesday, Cabinet approved the extension of South Africa’s national state of disaster by one month, to 15 March.
This as Covid-19 shows no signs of slowing down to the point of normalcy just yet.
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And the effects of the virus are palpable in tonight’s address, which is to be done in person by Ramaphosa from the National Assembly chamber, but in front of a limited number of MPs and media.
Distinguished guests, the remaining MPs and most members of the media will be tuning in virtually through Zoom and other platforms, as just 50 people are allowed in the chambers.
The absence of dazzling outfits and furious networking, as a usually bustling Parliament remains eerily empty, is the result of the world’s temporary new normal.
— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) February 11, 2021
Just around R100,000 has been allocated for the event. It was initially budgeted to cost R2.2 million.
In addition to Ramaphosa’s much-anticipated speech, there will also be a rendition of a poem by Eastern Cape poet, singer and film producer Siphokazi Jonas.
After the speech, Ramaphosa and parliamentary presiding officers will conduct a candle-lighting ceremony in honour of those who have lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Watch the proceedings below, courtesy of the SABC.
Compiled by Nica Richards