No pomp and ceremony at this year’s SONA
There will be no pomp and ceremony and no red carpet during this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) with the national legislature to hold a hybrid sitting due to the Covid-19 impact.
Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo said on Wednesday the budget for this year’s SONA was R2.2 million, but they expect to spend less than R1m.
The presiding officers also said there will be 50 MPs including President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the judiciary in Parliament on February 11 in the SONA owing to Covid-19 regulations.
Modise said they could have had more people in the House but they decided to settle to have a maximum of 50 people inside the Chamber.
“Due to the limited number of persons permitted within the precincts of Parliament and Parliament’s sensitivity to the prevailing conditions, various ceremonial aspects that usually characterise the SONA have been suspended. In this regard, there will be no red carpet and the procession of the three arms of the state, physical participation of junior and civil guard of honour, eminent persons, imbongi, military parade that leads to the presidential procession onto a saluting dais on the steps of the National Assembly, the guard of honour by the national ceremonial guard and the 21-gun salute,” said Modise and Masondo.
Modise also said they were not expected to spend a lot of money during the SONA.
Despite the budget R2.2m for the SONA, they hoped to spend less than R1m.
The money that will be saved will go to the improvement of technology in Parliament, she said.