State of the Nation Address 2010 Fast Facts
10 February 2010
What is the State of the Nation Address?
* The State of the Nation Address is an annual address by the President to Parliament, as the representative of the people on the state of the South African nation. It is an opportunity for the President to take stock of our country’s domestic and foreign situation and to chart a common direction that we should take to enhance and advance our efforts to achieve a better life for all.
* The State of the Nation is delivered to a joint sitting of Parliament’s National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.
* It is called by the President, through the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, when the President writes to them to request a joint sitting of Parliament. The joint sitting is held in the National Assembly Chamber.
* The State of the Nation Address is a state occasion and it is a key event on our country’s Parliamentary and political calendar.
* The President addresses the nation in his capacity as Head of State – not only as Head of Government.
* It is one of the rare occasions when the different arms of the state – the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature and the Military - come together in one place and play out their Constitutional roles in a public ritual which articulates and symbolises the separation of powers between these different arms of the State.
* Parliament has invited a wide range of people to be present to witness the President’s State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly Chamber. These guests include former Presidents, former Deputy Presidents, former Presiding Officers of Parliament’s two Houses, the Judiciary, current Cabinet Ministers and Heads of Government Departments, current members of Parliament and their guests and South Africans from various walks of life.
* Guests who’ve indicated they will attend this State of the Nation Address include former President Nelson Mandela, former President of the previous (pre-democratic) South African government and Deputy President under our democratic dispensation (non-racial and universal franchise) FW de Klerk, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, former Chief Justices Pius Langa and Arthur Chaskalson, former National Assembly Speaker Frene Ginwala, former Deputy Presidents Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Baleka Mbete. President Jacob Zuma’s spouses will also attend – Sizakele Khumalo-Zuma will accompany the President in the ceremonial procession from the Slave Lodge to the National Assembly building and Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma and Thobeka Madiba-Zuma will be present in the National Assembly Chamber.
* Former President Thabo Mbeki has informed Parliament that he will not be able to attend because he will be out of the country at the time.
* The State of the Nation Address on 11 February is a full ceremonial one involving a mounted police escort and a military ceremonial motor escort, the lining of the President’s route by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the SANDF and a military band (the Navy Band on this occasion), a fly-past by the South African Air Force and a 21-gun salute. It also includes civilian participation in the walk by the President, accompanied by Parliament’s Presiding Officers, from the Slave Lodge to the saluting dais in front of the New Wing where the National Assembly Chamber is located. Former President Nelson Mandela introduced the public participation component into the ceremony.
Activities on the day
Proceedings at Parliament start at around 16:30 in the following order:
* Members of the Judiciary, speakers of provincial legislatures, provincial premiers and diplomats arrive at the Company Gardens entrance (in Government Avenue) to the Old Assembly.
* Junior and Civil Guards of Honour and Eminent Persons take up positions on both sides of the red carpet along Parliament Street from the entrance to the Parliamentary precinct.
* Former Presidents, former Deputy Presidents, the former National Assembly Speaker and former Chief Justices arrive at the entrance to the New Wing.
* Procession of Premiers, Speakers of Provincial Legislatures, Judiciary, Parliament’s Presiding Officers, Deputy President and President.
* The President takes the national salute on a podium outside the National Assembly building (at 18:55). A fly past by the South African Air Force takes place at the same time.
* The President delivers his State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly Chamber (at 19:00).
* Parliament’s Presiding Officers adjourn the Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (at about 19:40).
* The President, Deputy President and Parliament’s Presiding Officers leave the National Assembly Chamber.
* Guests and Members of Parliament leave the National Assembly Chamber.
Virtual internet march of young people
There is also a virtual, cyberspace march to Parliament by about 11 000 young South Africans. This internet march is being organised by the Parliamentary Millennium Project as part of the Project’s Bokamoso Ba Rona (Our Future) Youth Campaign. The Campaign aims to encourage interest among young people in Parliamentary processes and the President’s State of the Nation Address. For more information, please visit http://www.bokabuddies.co.za
Parliament’s theme for the 11 February 2010 State of the Nation Address is “CELEBRATE MANDELA’S LEGACY – CONTRIBUTE TO NATION BUILDING”. This is in keeping with the commemoration of former President Nelson Mandela’s release from prison 20 years ago on 11 February 1990. It’s also in keeping with Parliament’s Constitutional obligation to promote the values of non-racialism and non-sexism and to serve as a platform for public consideration of issues of national concern. The letter and spirit of this theme will receive special emphasis in the business of Parliament throughout the year. According to our Constitution, Parliament is one of the most important platforms for the public to consider issue of national importance. As Parliament, we are concerned about redefining the role of Parliament in society and the role of society in Parliament.