POLL | What are you expecting to come out of this year's state of the nation address?

11 February 2021 - 07:00
President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation from parliament on Thursday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation from parliament on Thursday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver his fifth state of the nation address (Sona) in parliament on Thursday.

The Sona is scheduled for 7pm and Ramaphosa is expected to address the country's economic crisis since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold more than 11 months ago.

He will update the nation on progress with the government’s existing commitments and key plans for the year ahead.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and need for strict adherence to the Disaster Management Act, the national legislature will hold a hybrid sitting, with limited numbers of MPs, distinguished guests and media in the National Assembly chamber.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said on Wednesday that various categories of guests, including members of the public, who cannot be accommodated in the chamber or precinct will link up through a webinar that can take 1,000 guests.

Ramaphosa will hold a candle-lighting ceremony ahead of the address in honour of those who succumbed to the coronavirus.

Thirty MPs representing the two houses of parliament from various political parties will be physically in attendance. Fourteen will come from the ANC, five from the DA, and one each from the IFP, FF+, ACDP, GOOD, Cope, NFP, ATM, AIC and Al Jama-ah.

The EFF will not send any representatives to the in-person proceedings. 

According to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise, parliament was looking at spending R100,000 for the virtual event.

Initially, R2.2m was budgeted for this year's Sona — a significant saving from previous years.

There will also be no post-address dinner for MPs and guests.

The money saved will be redirected to modernising parliament’s technological capabilities to enhance its constitutional functions of public participation, oversight and law making.