A lick of paint here and there, sprucing up the trees, fresh posters and other hurried preparations are in evidence at Parliament as workers prepare for this week's State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma, which will be broadcast and televised locally (and abroad) on Thursday evening. Officials are keeping one eye on weather predictions for the day.
If there is a light drizzle the walk from the Slave Lodge to the steps of the National Assembly will go ahead as planned. If heavy rain threatens on Thursday, arrangements have been made for the Executive entourage, complete with Civil and Junior Guards of Honour, to be re-routed through the corridors of Parliament.
Once again special invitations have been extended to representatives from the nine provinces, and all seats for the event have long since been allocated. Sixty eight ushers will help get everyone seated well before the national salute, fly-past by the South African Air Force and cannon salute from the Company Gardens mark the beginning of the President's annual direct address to the South African nation. The theme this year is "Socio economic development through oversight and public participation."
Newspapers and local radio stations are expected to carry news of road closures in Cape Town, especially in the vicinity of Parliament, well before the day. Special arrangements have been made for media coverage, by the Press Gallery of Parliament, local and outside publishing houses and electronic media.
Rehearsals of the event are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.