Parliament decides to hold Sona at the Cape Town City Hall
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Cape Town - Parliament has decided to hold the State of the Nation Address (Sona), which is scheduled for February 10, at the Cape Town City Hall.
In a statement, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of provinces chairperson Amos Masondo said they met earlier in the morning to consider various reports on options available for business continuity for Parliament's work, including the hosting of the Sona.
This comes after the fire that started on Sunday morning severely damaged the National Assembly building, including the chamber, where the official sittings of both Houses are usually held.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo said the extensive damage had necessitated the institution to find an alternative venue off-site to host Sona.
This as the Western Cape government offered the Cape Town International Convention Centre as an alternative venue, while the City of Cape Town availed the use of its council chambers and the City Hall.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo said after a great deal of consideration and following thorough on-site inspections of alternative places, they decided on the most suitable facility that met their requirements.
“We are pleased to announce that the 2022 Sona will be held at the Cape Town City Hall,” they said.
“The City Hall was considered a suitable venue technically in terms of infrastructure and its capacity. It is also a befitting place, considering its historical significance which is embedded in the minds and hearts of South Africans,” they said.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo noted that former president Nelson Mandela addressed the nation at the City Hall after his release from prison in February 1990.
The late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu had introduced Mandela to thousands of jubilant South Africans on the same balcony after his election in the National Assembly as the first democratic president in May 1994.
“In this regard, President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation from the City Hall, 32 years since that historic occasion in 1990.”
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo said they have ensured that the decision to host the Sona outside the National Assembly was taken in compliance with the joint rules of Parliament that determine where a joint sitting may be held.
“Rule 2 of the joint rules provide for unforeseen matters.”
“In this regard, a joint rule made by the Speaker and the Chairperson will allow Sona to be held in a venue other than the Chamber of the Assembly. The rule will remain in force until a decision of the Rules Committee is made over such a rule,” they said.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo assured South Africans that the national legislature would ensure that no stone would be left unturned to get to the bottom of what transpired this week.
“The institution's work will continue as planned,” they said.