Rules will be applied: Mbete

FEBRUARY 10, 2015

Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, says the proper rules, conventions and precedence will be applied if there are any interruptions to the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.

This follows speculations that there will be some disruptions during the SONA.

Addressing the media in Cape Town earlier today, Mbete said in the event of disruptions, the presiding officers will apply the rules.

“SONA is a special annual event. We will apply the rules should there be any disruptions,” she said.

Mbete explained that Parliament has gone all out to invite people to the SONA. “We have all Chapter 9 institutions, we try to be as representative as possible,” she said. 

She also said for the first time there is going to be a female praise singer for SONA.

Also speaking at the briefing was the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise, who concurred with the Speaker of the National Assembly that Parliament hoped there won’t be a need to call in the police during the SONA. 

“We are aware of speculations of disruptions,” she said, adding that in the event of disruptions, the presiding officers have the authority to act. 

On the day, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, said political parties will not be afforded an opportunity to ask questions.

He expressed concern about political parties that have indicated that they are going to boycott the SONA dinner, saying they should have indicated their intentions long ago. “Boycotting the dinner is not a wise thing to do,” he said.

Preparations for the SONA are at an advanced stage. President Jacob Zuma will deliver the SONA to a joint sitting of Parliament at 7pm on Thursday.

The SONA is important for all South Africans as it outlines government’s Programme of Action for the year ahead.

The Programme of Action is government’s plans for the country and people of South Africa.

There will be live screenings of the event, as well a live broadcast by various television channels. – SAnews.gov.za