SONA 2021: Jacob Zuma attendance not confirmed
According to the roll call of attendees confirmed for the first-ever virtual State of the Nation Address (SONA 2021), former president Jacob Zuma will not be present as a dignitary.
SONA 2021: Jacob Zuma didn’t register to attend virtual affair
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise detailed the proceedings of SONA 2021, which takes place on Thursday, in a press briefing.
The speaker noted the confirmed attendance of the following luminary guests who registered for the virtual affair:
- Former president Thabo Mbeki;
- former Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka;
- former National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete; and
- former National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chairperson, Mninwa Mahlangu
Deputy President David Mabuza, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Dumisani H Zondi and Ambassador Bene L M’Poko will also be part of the reduced audience at the National Assembly chamber when President Cyril Ramaphosa gives his speech.
Notably, no mention of Zuma was made by Modise, which further fuels speculation of his disinterest in issues of governance and most importantly, his seemingly fractured relationship with his successor.
Our attempts to get a comment from Zuma on his apparent absence at SONA 2021 were unsuccessful at the time this article was published.
Political parties that will be present inside the National Assembly
Modise went into further detail on the setup of this year’s address. No more than 50 persons will be allowed into the chamber, a measure that’s been taken to ensure that social distancing is maintained in confined spaces.
This is the confirmed physical attendance of members of parliament per party:
- ANC: 14 attendees
- DA: five attendees
- IFP, FF+, ACDP, GOOD, Cope, NFP, ATM, AIC and Aljamah-ah: one attendee, respectively.
The EFF has resolved to not send any of its members into the chambers. Rather, the political party will tune into the webinar, like the rest of South Africa.
SONA 2021: Budget reduced to R100 000, road closures
Modise also revealed that expenditure for the affair has been reduced to R100 000, from R2.2 million. Much of this has to do with the limitations forced by the pandemic.
Some of the proceeds from this budget will also go towards the purchase of more than 46 000 candles that will be used to hold a vigil in honour of those who died from Covid-19.
For road closures, read here.