Home Local SONA LATEST: Parliament not deterred from holding Sona despite destructive blaze

SONA LATEST: Parliament not deterred from holding Sona despite destructive blaze

Cape Town – Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has said they were not going to allow the fire that ravaged Parliament to stop them from going ahead with the State of the Nation Address.

She said if the fire was meant to disrupt the event, they were not going to allow it.

It was in this context that Parliament had decided to go ahead and hold the State of the Nation Address in the City Hall in Cape Town.

This is the first time under the democratic government that the Sona would be held outside the precinct of Parliament.

Parliament had engaged with the City of Cape Town to use the City Hall.

Mapisa-Nqakula said: “Why did not we not hold this in a virtual (platform)? We all appreciate that the burning of the Parliamentary building sent a very bad message and a bad vibe in the country. If that act was meant to disrupt the workings of Parliament, then it was important for us to take this political decision, that no burning of a Parliamentary building, no amount of sabotage, will actually distract us from holding the State of the National Address, precisely because this is a very important event in the calendar of the country.”

“This is one opportunity when the president of the Republic is expected to come and outline the programme of government to the nation,” she said.

She said MPs from across the benches of the House have the opportunity to engage the president on all matters.

After the Sona on Thursday, the House will debate it over two days next week, and President Cyril Ramaphosa would reply to the debate next Thursday.

Mapisa-Nqakula said all political parties also felt the Sona needed to be held despite what had happened. This was an important event in the political calendar, and they would not be deterred by the events of last month when the National Assembly and the Old Assembly Chamber were damaged by the fire.

“We felt strongly, all of us, and this is what we said, even in the forum where political parties come together to the programming committee. But also to the Chief Whips’ forum, that there is no way that at a point when we are at Level 1, where we say no because of what has happened, we will not have an event called the State of the Nation Address, and that we will hold it on a virtual platform. We felt very strongly,” she said. – IOL