21 June 2019

South Africa: SA's Second (Cut-Price) 2019 SONA Sees MPs Strut Their Stuff Again

analysis

A second State of the Nation Address within four months is a SONA nobody needs. On the plus side, it was also the cheapest ceremony for some years. The sense of austerity extended to a somewhat sedate atmosphere, if not to the clothing choices of guests.

Cyril Ramaphosa's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2019 took place in sweltering conditions in Cape Town in February. His second, on 20 June, saw the temperatures dive in tandem with the expectations for the content of the speech.

But the media focus on the parliamentary precinct was as unrelenting as ever. A record 950 journalists had received media accreditation to cover the event, announced the Government Communication and Information Systems beforehand, with 80 community radio stations broadcasting the President's address live.

Journalists joked about the "New Dawn" as -- for the first time in recent memory -- the WiFi provided for the event was ample and high-speed.

And though new Speaker of Parliament Thandi Modise had said that the occasion would be at least R500,000 cheaper than the last SONA, she confirmed that Parliament had bowed to public pressure and reinstalled the imbongi (praise singer) who had been slated to be...

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