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The Parliamentary precinct in Cape Town’s city centre is abuzz with activity ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address.
The president was expected to outline government’s priorities for the year and officially open Parliament at 7pm today.
The address will be broadcast live on radio and television as well as streamed live on Parliament’s website.
The Government Communication and Information System has arranged for the address to be broadcast on big screens at a variety of venues in all provinces.
Yesterday, security was being beefed up; media were setting up their booths from where they will broadcast interviews, and parliamentary staff were ensuring the final preparations were wrapped up and that the National Assembly was in perfect shape.
The red carpet and platform leading up the National Assembly, where dignitaries will show off their fashion, are being allotted and large screens are being tested.
The South African Air Force on Tuesday practised the flyover above Parliament, which is scheduled to happen as the president arrives at the steps of the National Assembly. There will also be a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the SA National Defence Force and a 21-gun salute.
Special State of the Nation address banners have been erected along the precinct’s roads, many of which will be closed to traffic.
Some of the invited guests include the country’s top matriculants from last year, businesspeople, diplomats, former president Thabo Mbeki and his wife Zanele, former deputy presidents Baleka Mbete and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former president FW de Klerk and Elita de Klerk, former chief justice Pius Langa and former speaker of the National Assembly Dr Frene Ginwala.
Zuma is not expected to focus only on the National Development Plan, but will also provide an update on all key areas, especially the five priorities: education; health; creating decent work; fighting crime; rural development and land reform.
He will also outline progress made in the implementation of the New Growth Path, the economic strategy within the NDP.