Zuma will deliver the address to the nation, as the Head of State, at a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
The proceedings will be broadcast live from Parliament from 5pm onwards, under the theme: “Following up on our commitments to the people”.
According to government spin doctors the annual State of the Nation Address is an opportunity for the President to set out government’s “key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead, as well as highlight the achievements and challenges experienced over the past year”.
We know – from experience – that it can often be a lot of smoke blown up our arses. Often the speech is fill of promises followed by zero action. The speech comes only days after Zuma admitted to the Constitutional Court that he needs to pay back some of his Nkandla money spent on his private home with taxpayers’ money. This love is widely seen as a victory for opposition parties like the DA an EFF.
SAnews.gov.za repots the SONA will cover “wide-ranging political, economic and social matters and considers the general state of South Africa. It deliberates on South Africa’s domestic affairs as well as its continental and international relations”.
Before the President arrives at the National Assembly, there will be a number of ceremonial traditions that take place, including a 21-gun salute and a salute flight by the South African Air Force (where will they find the pilots? – Ed).
The SANDF’s military band is usually there to make some noise.
There will be civil guards of honour made up of ordinary South Africans, junior guards of honour who are drawn from schools around South Africa or eminent persons who are nominated by the Speaker of each Provincial Legislature – nominated on the basis of their contribution to society.
The Members of Parliament and invited guests will also brighten up the red carpet with their formal dresses and suits.
In the week following SONA, political parties will have an opportunity to debate, comment and raise questions on matters addressed in the President’s speech during a debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address.
This debate usually takes place over two days in a joint sitting. This year the debate is scheduled for 16 to 17 February.
The President will have the opportunity to reply to the debate on 18 February 2016.
This is followed by the Budget Speech, where the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan will allocate the budget in line with the priorities outlined in the State of Nation Address.
Parliament conducts oversight to ensure that government delivers on the priorities set out in the State of the Nation Address and that allocated funds are spent accordingly.