Parliament ready for SONAComment on this story
Parliament, Cape Town- Rain and labour unrest will not derail President Jacob Zuma's mid-winter state-of-the-nation address to Parliament next week, National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise said on Thursday.
Modise said regardless of the weather there would still be a 21-gun salute to mark the first opening of the fifth Parliament on Tuesday, as a special dais had been erected for the event.
In case of a downpour, the president's procession would be moved from the parliamentary lane to the long corridor inside the legislature, she told a media briefing.
Zuma's first address following his re-election last month was originally scheduled for the 19th but was brought forward by two days to allow him to travel to the African Union's heads of state summit in Equatorial Guinea.
Parliamentary officials said planning for the event had been well under way and the time change was having little impact on preparations.
“A day or two should not be a train smash,” Modise said.
Asked about protests by the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union at Parliament this week demanding the dismissal of senior parliamentary staff, Modise said the legislature was in talks with the union and did not expect upheaval on Tuesday.
“We do think that process will not lead to the disruption of the state-of-the-nation 1/8address 3/8,” she said.
Deputy secretary to Parliament Baby Tyawa said R4 million had been budgeted for the event but it was unlikely the full amount would be spent because of planned savings.
These included holding a cocktail reception following the president's speech instead of the usual gala dinner.