14 June 2019

South Africa: 'No Disruptions Expected' - Parliament's Presiding Officers On Readiness for SONA

Photo: @PresidencyZA/Twitter
President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Assembly on Wednesday for his first presidential budget vote debate speech.

There are no indications and expectations that there will be a disruption of President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 20 June.

This is according to Parliament's presiding officers who briefed media on Thursday regarding the state of readiness for the event.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, stated that "the preparations for the State of the Nation Address, which provides the President with an opportunity to share government's comprehensive plans for the coming period, are at an advanced stage".

Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, said: "We're not expecting any disruptions, we have not been given any indications that there's going to be a disruption. Have we any contingencies, extraordinary measures? No. We will stick to what we usually do, our rules."

"We will ensure that there is decorum. If anything happens we will fall back on our rules and do what we usually do, strictly go through the session relying on the rules of a joint sitting of Parliament".

Responding to a question about whether there would be enough so-called 'white shirts', or parliamentary protection service officials, Modise said, "I don't even know how many there are, I'm hoping that we're not going to use any of them because, as I say, we want to rely on the rules or procedure and the rules for debate in any event, on any SONA."

"So we do not have any extraordinary security arrangements made, we do not intend to have any," she concluded.

The concerns around disruptions come a day after an induction session at the Old Assembly in Parliament on Wednesday was marred by a confrontation between ANC and EFF MPs.

In a video of the incident, a group of at least seven red-clad EFF MPs can be seen in front of the ANC's benches pushing other MPs around and waving their arms.

Various members of Parliament have since come out to condemn the actions with the speaker confirming that the clash will be investigated.

Source: News24

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