8 February 2017

South Africa: Bouncers, Media Measures and High Security - Yes, It's SONA 2017

Photo: Fasozine
Jacob Zuma

It's SONA time, and Parliament's presiding officers say it's all systems go for a "successful" State of the Nation Address despite "a bit of excitement about one or two matters", as National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete put it. On the eve of President Jacob Zuma delivering his statement on the state of South Africa, Mbete and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise on Wednesday swatted away controversies - be it the deployment of 441 soldiers, unprecedented security measures including a visible presence of the State Security Agency (SSA) across the parliamentary precinct, and concerns over media restrictions on the day. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

In a parliamentary committee room, members of the justice, crime prevention and safety & security cluster - effectively the police, defence force and State Security Agency (SSA) - on Wednesday afternoon handed in their cellphones and signed an attendance register for a meeting. Two of the "bouncers", the public order police drafted into the parliamentary protection services and in the forefront of evicting EFF MPs amid past disruptions in the House, were in charge outside to man the table lined with white envelopes.

According to Clause 4 of the 2004 Powers, Privileges and Immunities of...

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