it's all systems go for SONA2023

It’s all systems go for the 2023 STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

the Presiding Officers, led by National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Amos Masondo, held a media briefing on Tuesday on the preparations for this year’s SONA.

This year’s SONA, as last year, will be held at the Cape town City Hall, following the devastating fire at Parliament in 2022

The City has handed over the City Hall to Parliament since the 1st of February

This year’s theme “Following up on our commitments to the people: Making your future work better.

Similar to last year, this year’s proceedings of SONA 2023 will follow the full ceremony format.

Activities undertaken and observed during a full ceremony include the Flame Guard, the 21-gun salute, an aircraft flypast, the lining of the route, the Ceremonial Guard, the Salute of the Step Guard, the singing of the National Anthem, the full Military Band and the ceremonial processions of the Provincial Speakers, Premiers, the Judiciary, the Deputy President and the President.

 The President will take a salute at the platform prepared in front of the statue of uTata Madiba, which is on the balcony of the City Hall, where he will observe the singing of the National anthem by the South African National Defence Force military band, synchronised with the 21-gun salute and flypast.

The role of the imbongi in the SONA programme has been an important feature of this key state event since 1994 and remains crucial to the celebration of our cu     ltural diversity and social cohesion. Imbongi is selected in conjunction with the provincial legislatures and the language in which the praise song is rendered is determined on rotational basis to ensure all languages are afforded equal primacy.  For this SONA, a isiZulu praise singer, Mr Msawenkosi Duma, from KwaZulu-Natal will usher the President into the Chamber.

Approximately 490 Members of Parliament, 10 including representatives of Salga, and 263 guests will will be in attendance at this year’s SONA



The following dignitaries have confirmed attendance of the SONA:


•        Former President Thabo Mbeki

•        Former Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete

•        Chief Justice Zondo, Deputy Chief Justice Maya and the 15 Judges

•        Pan African Parliament President, H.E. Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira

•        Speaker of Azerbaijan, Hon Sahiba Gafarova, in her capacity as the Chairperson of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Forum

•        Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, The Rt Hon Hara

•        Mayor of Cape Town, Mr Geordin Hill-Lewis


One of the defining features of our normalisation of operations following the Covid-19 pandemic is the 263 guests expected this year, inclusive of special dignitaries. The confirmed guests include:


•        10 netball captains of the different countries gathered here in Cape Town for the World Cup. They are representing Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies)

•        The Chairperson of the Netball World Cup Board, the President of the Netball South Africa, the Head Coach of Netball South Africa and the team’s Captain will be our special guests.


We wish all the teams a memorable world cup competition in South Africa, and our team success in showcasing South Africa as a winning nation.


•        The President and the Chairman of Cricket South Africa will be here.

•        An invitation to the Head Coach and Captain of Banyana-Banyana have also been extended as an opportunity to honour the current Confederation of African Football women’s champions. However due to their obligations at the FIFA Women’s World Cup they are unable to be with us. Parliament wishes them well in this competition.


Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Sylvia Lucas, says this year Sona will be back with pomp and ceremony after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted.Mapisa-Nqakula says Parliament are aware of planned marches and protests on the day of SONA.

Peaceful protests are a feature of our constitutional democracy and a means to express views on SONA. Appropriate arrangements will be made to receive memoranda where required.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, says disrupting the day’s proceedings will not be tolerated

The national assembly speaker says arrangements has been made for those who trades in the area

Parliament has engaged and reached agreement with all stakeholders, including the Parade Traders, with a view to minimise the temporary disruption of business due to the declaration of the City Hall as a Parliamentary precinct.

Alternative trading sites have been provided in Harrington Square, Heritage Square and The Company Gardens during this period. Once again we appreciate the ongoing cooperation and understanding from the representatives of this business community.

Now its been a year since the fire incident that damaged certain sections of the buildings of Parliament.

Giving an update on reconstructing Parliament,and  Mapisa-Nqakula says the details of the project, which will be announced by next week.

With the provision of about R2 Billion by the Finance Minister during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement last year, Parliament together with other stakeholders are finalising the details of the reconstruction project, which will be announced by the Secretary to Parliament in due course.

Despite Eskom saying Stage 3 and 4 load shedding will remain until further notice, secretary to Parliament Xolile George is singing a different tune.

Parliament announced that they have budgeted R8 million for this year’s SONA

Parliaments spokesperson, Moloto mothapo said that eventhough they budgeted R8 million, it does not mean that all this money will be used.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the State of the Nation Address on Thursday, the 9 February at 7pm.

We can certainly state that it is all systems go for the 2023 State of the Nation Address.


PICTURE: @PresidencyZA


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