The 2021 State of The Nation Address is set for Thursday 11 February at 19.00hrs. Unlike past addresses, the 2021 SONA comes at a time when the nation is under duress from the Covid-19 pandemic. As such things will be different this time around. Of note is the absence of EFF. However, it is important to remember that this year’s SONA will be held on the 31st anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. The presiding officer released a briefing about the Parliament preparations and this is all you need to know.
“The address is an opportunity for the president to speak to the nation about a variety of domestic and global issues. It’s also an opportunity to update the nation on progress with government’s existing commitments and key plans for the year ahead, ” the presiding officer’s statement read.
SONA 2021: EFF not invited to this year’s SONA
One significant thing to note is that while the State of the nation address normally has a budget of R2 million plus, this year’s budget is R100,000 with a lot of the merriment being cut down.
The red carpet and military parade through the Cape Town City Centre will not be a part of this year’s occasion.
The SONA will be delivered virtually with select individuals present to control numbers and adhere to Covid-19 regulations. Guests who will not be present at the chamber will attend via a non-chat webinar. Only 29 Members of Parliament will attend physically. These are numbered as follows; ANC (14), DA (5) and one each from the IFP, FF Plus, ACDP, GOOD, Cope, NFP, ATM, AIC and Al Jamah-ah. Over the years, the EFF has added a dramatic flair to the SONA However, this year the party’s theatrics and red berets will be sorely missed as the party will have no MP present in the National Assembly Chamber.
Only 20 media representatives will be present at parliament with the rest attending via virtual platforms.