On Thursday, all eyes will be fixated on Parliament for the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The speech, due to be delivered at 19:00 before a combined gathering of Parliament, Cabinet, the Judiciary and the public, will seek to build on the governing party’s January 8 Statement. The theme for this year’s event is: “Following up on our commitments: Making Your Future Work Better”.
The SONA will be the last of the fifth administration and, as a result, will largely be a report back on the administration’s progress and achievements over the past five years. It will also be an opportunity for the President to layout his party’s vision/manifesto to a prime time tv audience: this includes the plan to grow South Africa.
The occasion is steeped in tradition and includes a red carpet procession, a 21-gun salute and an Air Force flypast.
In recent years we have seen SONA delayed and the event marred by disruptions, heckling, walk outs and violence in the Chamber.
The entire precinct will be abuzz with preparations as construction and cleaning crews do last minute touch ups, security personnel do their drills and those participating in the parade undertake rehearsals. The perimeter outside the legislature will also be impacted by road closures.
As the President steps up to the dais, he will know that there are a lot of expectations (or not in some quarters) and that the public and financial markets will be watching the speech closely.
Watch the SONA here
Despite the scant three-day schedule, there are several interesting meetings lurking in the Committee corridor this week. Here is a breakdown:
The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs will hold an inquiry into the alleged closing off of Clifton 4th Beach to members of the public. The incident sparked huge outrage and protests. The stakeholders invited include the Department of Environmental Affairs; City of Cape Town; Responsible Security Company; SAPS; PSIRA and the Department of Tourism.
The North West province was placed under administration by the Cabinet and is now being monitored by an Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT). The NCOP established an Ad Hoc Committee to review the intervention regularly and make any appropriate recommendations to the national executive. The IMTT will this week brief the Committee on progress on the intervention as it relates to Committee Resolutions and Recommendations.
Lawmakers will meet to shortlist the 88 candidates who had applied for the eight positions as Commissioners on the Gender Equality Commission. They previously agreed to shortlist three candidates for each vacancy which would result in a shortlist of 24 candidates.
Given the time constrains and the backlog, it’s no surprise that legislation will dominate Committee programmes. On the agenda will be the National Health Institute of South Africa Bill; Carbon Tax Bill; Financial Matters Amendment Bill; Airports Company Amendment Bill; Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company Amendment Bill; Repeal of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill and Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Bills.
View the full schedule here.
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