South Africa: All Eyes On SONA 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the annual State of the National Address, his second since the recall of former President Jacob Zuma in February last year.

It will be lights, camera, and action this evening as President Cyril Ramaphosa takes to the podium in the National Assembly in Parliament to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Considered to be one of the most important events on the Parliamentary calendar, the SONA will see scores of South Africans tune in to hear the President taking stock of the achievements made over the last year and possibly outline plans for the coming year.

Speaking to SAnews on the eve of the prestigious event, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said SONA gives the President a chance to address the nation on the important work of government.

"It's where the President gives an account of the work that has been done, but at the same time where he details the way forward.

"It is where he details that in the current financial year these are the activities that we will be embarking on and giving a clear direction to the country and the world, especially for those that want to come and invest in the country," said Ndabeni-Abrahams.

The SONA, which is called in terms of Section 42(5) of the Constitution by the President of the Republic, will see the two Houses of Parliament, namely the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, converge under one roof.

Tonight's occasion is expected to focus the nation's attention on the symbolism and ceremonial content of South Africa's democracy, as well as on the substance of renewal and growth at a time when South Africans wish to see and experience inclusive and sustainable growth that creates jobs and sustains communities.

With the SONA detailing the achievements and plans of government, Ndabeni-Abrahams encouraged citizens to take part in the discussions.

"It's very important for people to participate in the SONA, because as the ANC government we have always preached the message that we can't do it all, we have always believed that this is the government of the people by the people," said the Minister.

The address will be broadcast on SABC television and radio channels, livestreamed on the Parliamentary website and public viewing sites have been set up in various locations in provinces. South Africans can also track the conversation on social media by following @SAgovnews and #SONA2019 on Twitter.

Ndabeni-Abrahams encouraged citizens to tune in and watch the auspicious event.

Tonight will not only see invited guests dressed to the nines on the red carpet, but also a ceremonial parade exhibiting the military traditions of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. This includes a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the South African National Defence Force, a military band, a salute flight by the SA Air Force and the 21-gun salute.

Reflecting on her favourite parts of the SONA, Ndabeni-Abrahams described the event as a moment where South Africans show their faith and hope in the President.

"My favourite moment is when the President is entering and the citizens are there giving their respect and showing their hope and faith in the leader of their country, that's one moment when I am like 'wow South Africa, indeed this is an opportunity'," said the Minister.

The SONA, the last of the fifth administration due to the elections later this year, will be televised at 7pm.

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