Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

State of the Nation Address and Budget Speech to go ahead as planned

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons Time of article published Jan 5, 2022

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Cape Town - Parliament has confirmed that the State of the Nation Address and Budget Speech, among others, will go ahead as planned.

This follows after ravaging flames gutted the National Assembly and Old Assembly buildings on Sunday and Monday.

Sona is expected to take place on February 10, and the Budget Speech about two weeks later.

Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo have both applauded the hard work of the firefighters.

Over the two-day period 300 firefighters were on the ground working shifts and more than 60 firefighting vehicles. One fire engine remains at the scene with five crew members working throughout all the floors, ensuring no flare-ups.

While the fire has been contained, the last 24 hours remained critical, with firefighters, who were at reduced capacity, closely monitoring and combing through the scene.

“The firefighters will assess later this afternoon for possible total withdrawal from the site today (Wednesday) and see if the building is safe to be handed over to the South African Police Service.

“The extent of the damage in the NA is severe. The presiding officers confirm that efforts to save the Mace were successful yesterday after two days of the fire. It has been retrieved from its safe storage without any damage.

“The Mace is an important symbol that signifies the authority and sitting of the NA. It is carried into the Chamber by the Serjeant-at-Arms and announces the arrival of the Speaker of the NA,” Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

He added that the presiding officers reassured everyone that no stone would be left unturned in getting to the bottom of how the incident happened.

"We don't want to make any speculations about what may have led to this incident, but we continue to be very concerned that the institution of Parliament and its symbols could be destroyed in this manner. So, we will demand full accountability and if so found, for those responsible to be punished," said the presiding officers.

Parliament will share further details about where and how the State of the Nation Address, Budget Speech and other programmes will proceed.

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Political Bureau

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