What’s better than one State of the Nation (SONA) address in a year? Well, we’d say two in four months is the answer. The razzmatazz and glamour of the red carpet event – as well as the nitty-gritty of Parliamentary engagement – is coming back in June.
Truth be told, the actual speech and ceremony given by President Ramaphosa was annoyingly trouble-free. There was no EFF disruption, and things went smoother than we’re used to seeing. But shortly after the address had concluded, a scuffle unfolded outside.
SONA 2019 – double bubble
Marshall Dlamini – an EFF MP – ended up in a scrap with a security officer outside the National Assembly. The red berets came equipped with a good conspiracy theory to clear-the-air as well, saying they’d been spooked by reports that Julius Malema was the target of a planned assassination.
We’ll go through it all again in six weeks’ time, as is the standard procedure in an election year. We get a bonus SONA whenever a new term of Parliament starts, to reflect the best interests of a National Assembly that’s set to look a little different.
The ANC has lost 19 seats and the DA are six down. The chance of an EFF interruption this time around may have just improved, however: They’re up by 18 MPs, and now have 43 representatives in the house. Parliament will also welcome Patricia de Lille and her Good Party, as well as members from the African Transformation Movement.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa’s previous SONA promised to unbundle Eskom and revolutionise the way our schools function. Hauling everyone back to Parliament after four months is certainly a good chance to touch base with the assurances given by our president.
When is the next SONA?
In a recently-issued media statement, Parliament has tentatively suggested a provisional date for the event. Thursday 20 June has been touted, with hundreds of MPs, celebrities and journalists set to converge on the house:
“The newly elected President of the Republic of South Africa is expected to deliver the State of the Nation Address of the Sixth Democratic Parliament to a joint sitting of both Houses. The date of the SONA is provisionally scheduled for 20 June 2019. The President and the Presiding Officers of Parliament will determine and decide on the date.”
When are MPs back in Parliament?
There are some other important dates for our diaries, too: The first sitting of the National Assembly and its seventh democratically-elected Parliament is provisionally scheduled for Wednesday 22 May. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will convene a day later, on Thursday 23 May.
The House may be constituted of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members. To see a full list of who will be representing us all in Parliament, click here. But for now, you can add this unmissable SONA date to your diary.