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Thu Oct 30 20:57:01 SAST 2014

State of Nation speech to cost R6.8m

PHILANI NOMBEMBE | 13 February, 2013 01:0958 Comments
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
Image by: Foto24 / Bongiwe Gumede / Gallo Images

It's all systems go for this years' State of the Nation speech, which coincides with St Valentine's Day tomorrow.

The ceremony will cost taxpayers more than R6.8-million.

Most of the money has been spent on advertising, promotional material, transport and accommodation.

Max Sisulu, Speaker of the National Assembly, and Mninwa Mahlangu, chairman of the National Council of Provinces, briefed the media about the preparations yesterday.

The theme for this year's State of the Nation speech by President Jacob Zuma is "Socio-economic development through oversight and public participation".

The evening speech will be broadcast and shown on giant TV screens in all nine provinces.

"The ceremony [will involve]a mounted-police escort and a military motor escort, the lining of the president's route by the SA National Defence Force . a salute flight by the South African Air Force and a 21-gun salute," said Mahlangu.

He said the public's participation in the ceremony was former president Nelson Mandela's legacy.

But Adderly Street flower-sellers are not impressed that the event coincides with Valentine's Day because it might cost them business because of closed roads.

The attendance of former president Thabo Mbeki and wife Zanele will depend on Mbeki's programme in Sudan. Former president FW de Klerk and his wife, Elita, are expected to attend.

Other guests will include members of the diplomatic corps, foreign dignitaries, last year's top matriculants and Zuma's spouses, one of whom will accompany him in the procession from the Slave Lodge.

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