South Africa prepares for Zuma’s state of nation address

News24

2017-02-09 06:04

Army personnel take a stroll before the dress rehearsal for the opening of Parliament. (Paul Herman, News24)

Army personnel take a stroll before the dress rehearsal for the opening of Parliament. (Paul Herman, News24)

There has been an uproar from opposition parties following President Jacob Zuma’s announcement on Tuesday that 441 soldiers would be deployed at Parliament for his State of the Nation Address on Thursday. Watch.

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma is set to deliver the State of the Nation address (SONA) at Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday evening.

On Tuesday, the Presidency announced that 441 soldiers would be deployed to help police maintain “law and order” at the opening of Parliament.

The DA said the move violated the doctrine of the separation of powers, while the EFF called it a “declaration of war” on the country’s citizens. Party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on Tuesday said that no amount of security and intimidation would stop the EFF from holding Zuma accountable in terms of the Constitution.

Even Parliament’s presiding officers could on Wednesday not explain why the number of soldiers at the SONA had increased from 168 in 2013 to 441 this year.

Thursday might again see the EFF’s MPs interrupt Zuma and pepper him with uncomfortable questions, as they did for the first time in 2015, when they asked him when he intended repaying the millions spent on his Nkandla homestead. Parliament’s security forcibly removed them from the House.

Last year, the EFF heckled Zuma and raised points of order, only to leave the House chanting “Zupta must fall”, a conflation of Zuma and Gupta, the business family he is friends with.

This year’s SONA will start at 19:00.

The ANC will host a “people’s assembly” at the Grand Parade in Cape Town at 15:00, so people could watch his speech on a big screen, and possibly get to see Zuma and other ANC leaders afterwards. The party had said it was an attempt to break down the impression that its leaders were out of touch with the people.

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