Mandela Will Grace State of Nation Address – Parly

2010-02-09 13:19

CAPE TOWN – Parliament confirmed today that democratic South

Africa’s first president Nelson Mandela will attend President Jacob Zuma’s state

of the nation address on Thursday.

The occasion – on February 11 – marks the 20th anniversary of

Mandela’s release from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl.

Briefing the media at Parliament today, National Assembly Speaker

Max Sisulu said, with this in mind, Parliament’s theme this year was “Celebrate

the Legacy of Mandela – Contribute to Nation Building”.

“Throughout the year, the letter and spirit of this theme will

permeate the business of Parliament,” he said.

Zuma’s address on Thursday would be the first major occasion where

this commitment came to fruition.

“We are especially honoured that Mr Mandela has accepted to attend

this occasion.

“The sheer presence of the man provides any occasion with grace and

honour,” Sisulu said.

A number of other VIPs and dignitaries, from South Africa and

abroad, had also been invited.

Guards of honour on Thursday evening would comprise of people from

civil society organisations, schools, and the community in general, while public

participation would extend into cyberspace.

A “virtual march” of over 11 000 young people would be staged on

the internet to attend the event.

Also in attendance would be the original members of the “Nelson

Mandela Reception Committee” at the time of his release.

Sisulu said the change in time for the delivery of Zuma’s address –

7pm – had been the subject of much debate, but the sole aim was to allow as many

South Africans as possible to be part of the event.

The ceremonial aspects of the event would remain the same, with the

three arms of state – the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature – coming

together on the day.

“We will have a mounted police escort and a military ceremonial

motor escort, the lining of the president’s route by the SA National Defence

Force, an imbongi, a national salute by the ceremonial guard of the SANDF, a

military band (the SA Navy band on this occasion), a fly-past by the SA Air

Force, and a 21-gun salute.”

Live broadcasts would be available on Parliament’s website, on TV,

radio, and on big screens at various public centres in all provinces, Sisulu

said.


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