State of the Nation build-up - As it happened

2015-02-12 17:30

Reporters inside the National Assembly say the signal is jammed so they're unable to tweet while inside the chambers.

You can continue to follow our coverage of the State of the Nation speech here.

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Last Updated at 13:52
12 Feb 18:35
There was some chanting, presumably from the press gallery, of "Bring back the signal!" which is also now a hashtag on Twitter.

12 Feb 18:30

The SA National Editors' Forum has urged Parliamentary officials and the presidency to urgently review the decision to cut off cellphone signal in the chamber.

"The effect of the signal cut-off is that journalists won't be able to file stories and pictures from tonight's Sona," Sanef tweeted.

12 Feb 18:23

12 Feb 18:08

12 Feb 17:58

12 Feb 17:53
A resident in the CBD, Philip Owira, says police won't let him leave his apartment block.

12 Feb 17:51
All DA MPs who are attending Sona are dressed in funereal black in protest at what they say is the death of democracy.

12 Feb 17:50

12 Feb 17:47
Apparently the theme for this year's speech is 'Together we move forward'.

12 Feb 17:46
The DA's Sean August says he's been arrested along with other members Marius Redelinghuys, Deon Basson, Ricardo Serelina and Bernard Lottery.

12 Feb 17:36
Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli tells eNCA MPs must respect the rules of Parliament. He says he's unsure why cellphone signals inside the House would be blocked as he's not part of the operations team.

12 Feb 17:35

12 Feb 17:27
Medi24's parliamentary reporter Janet Heard says there appears to be a jammer in Parliament that's stopping journalists from tweeting. News24's Andrew Donaldson confirmed this. 

12 Feb 17:22
"Military police are now being stationed on the streets leading to Parliament; relative calm on streets. Choppers circle overhead," tweets News24's Jerusha Raath.

12 Feb 17:20

It's madness out there.

12 Feb 17:08
The DA News has tweeted that DA MP Marius Redelinghuys has been arrested in Adderley Street in the CBD for "enquiring why DA members were being moved by Saps". The DA's Ian Ollis calls them "fascist ANC controlled police".

12 Feb 17:04
See our photos as protesters and riot police are out on Cape Town's streets before Zuma's state of the nation.

12 Feb 16:55
See a video from News24's Noxolo Mafu showing police using water cannons on protesters.

12 Feb 16:52
EFF supporters running up Church street chased by police, just seen them get sprayed with water, says tweeter Lize Hartley.

12 Feb 16:50
See this video from the DA's Phumzile van Damme showing police very roughly carrying a protester who looks as if he's wearing a DA T-shirt.

12 Feb 16:49
Police have used a water cannon on protesters near Parliament. And it's still two hours to go before Zuma starts his speech...

12 Feb 16:42
While there's some chaos and police officers out and about, MPs continue to walk the red carpet at Parliament.

12 Feb 16:35
Things are heating up on the streets of Cape Town with riot police moving in with a water cannon.

12 Feb 16:26

12 Feb 16:25

12 Feb 16:19
DA and ANC supporters near Parliament are in a bit of a verbal tussle. But police are keeping them apart. 

12 Feb 16:12
Police are out in full force.

12 Feb 16:11

12 Feb 15:57

12 Feb 15:56

12 Feb 15:35

"We will hold placards, it will be peaceful," the EFF's Cosmos told News24's Roy McKenzie.  

"Inside, it [the disruption] is going to happen, and the rest will take care of itself," Mabona added.  

"South Africans must be happy that the EFF will be there, and they must thank the EFF for educating South Africa about Parliamentary rules and procedures.  

"The 'pay back the money' struggle is also not just an EFF struggle, it’s everyone’s struggle," he pointed out.

12 Feb 15:13
Meanwhile, the DA is boycotting the red carpet too (it announced yesterday it's skipping the post-Sona dinner). DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says they could only announce their plans to skip events this week because they only got plans for opening of Parliament last week. They're skipping because they say the country is in crisis.

12 Feb 15:09

Speaking to eNCA, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says: We will get an official report on what happened at the news conference earlier today. We’re focused on tonight. We’re hoping comrades report to Parliament tonight.

The leadership is unclear on what happened at conference, he further says, and tonight is D-Day. He has urged Zuma to resolve the "Nkandla question". We have to stick to the plan, the spokesperson says.

Ndlozi skirts around question of party implosion.

We're going to stand our ground tonight, Ndlozi says.

12 Feb 14:59

Fin24 reports: Eskom has allegedly asked key industries to reduce consumption by 15% during the State of the Nation Address, which is seen as political interference by an energy expert.

The South African Independent Power Producers Association tweeted that the “Eskom CEO [Tshediso Matona] just asked industry to cut power usage by 15% to prevent load shedding during Sona 2015”.

Energy expert Chris Yelland, MD at EE Publishing, told Fin24 that this smacks in the face of Matona’s strategy that Eskom would never again allow external factors like the 2010 Football World Cup to come in the way of its mandate.

12 Feb 14:56
Joseph says because there was a "breakdown" of furniture at the Southern Sun where the conference was, it wasn't violent. Even though Mngxitama feared for his life.

12 Feb 14:54
EFF Western Cape chairperson Bernard Joseph is insisting on eNCA that, despite what visuals might show, there wasn't any violence at that press conference.

12 Feb 14:53
Eskom has allegedly asked key industries to reduce consumption by 15% during the State of the Nation Address, which is seen as political interference by an energy expert.

12 Feb 14:50
EFF MP Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala said she would be skipping SONA, as she fears for her safety after the earlier chaos.

12 Feb 14:45

Andile Mngxitama claims the EFF's planned protest at the State of the Nation speech has nothing to do with President Jacob Zuma, but a failed proposed deal between the ANC and top EFF leadership.

Speaking to eNCA, Mngxitima said that EFF top leadership, including Julius Malema, and Floyd Shivambu, were negotiating with the ANC to have seven EFF MPs suspended.

According to Mngxitima, the proposed deal was to have the MPs suspended in exchange for the EFF not protesting during the president's State of The Nation address.

The ANC reportedly refused, and the protest would go ahead. Mngxitima also said that he was one of the seven MPs the top EFF leadership wanted suspended.

12 Feb 14:40
Mngxitama says his detractors did not manage to land any fists. They only stripped him of his T-shirt.

12 Feb 14:36
Here's some video from the fighting at the first EFF conference.

12 Feb 14:28
The EFF's regional chair Cosmos Mabona tells News24's Roy McKenzie that he reckons this news conference is distracting from the EFF's plans to disrupt tonight's SONA - they plan to have 2 500 picketing outside Parliament.

12 Feb 14:27

12 Feb 14:16
Apparently the EFF conference had to do with Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie's open letter to Malema.

12 Feb 14:05

DA parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, spoke to News24's Jerusha Sukhdeo-Raath in studio, giving his opinion on the EFF's plans to disrupt the State of the Nation address.

Maimane says that the EFF's threat of disruption will only give the EFF theatrical power and benefit President Jacob Zuma; as he will get to walk away without taking responsibility.

Maimane says the DA has requested four dates for the scheduled question session.

One session will be a catch-up for last year's State of the Nation Address so the president cannot use the excuse of diary conflicts to avoid being accountable to the people.

He expects the State of the Nation address to lay a platform to hold the president accountable to the country.

12 Feb 13:59

And now the new secret location for the media conference has been moved to ANOTHER secret location.

This is getting quite ridiculous.

12 Feb 13:54
"Thanks to those fighters who protected me against the uninformed fighters," tweeted Mngxitama almost an hour ago.

12 Feb 13:50

12 Feb 13:48
Pro-Malema supporters who disrupted the previous press conference have arrived at the secret venue Mngxitama had chosen for the new conference. So expect more chaos. 

12 Feb 13:46

EFF parliamentarians are determined to disrupt President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address.

According to its leader, Julius Malema, the party will rely on one of the rules for a joint sitting of Parliament, which makes provision for a member of Parliament to raise points of order.

This rule states that “no member of Parliament may interrupt another, expect to bring attention to a point of order or a point of privilege”.

In terms of this rule, the EFF may not interrupt the president to ask him a question, but to raise a point of order.

The EFF will thus say that, during the “pay back the money” debacle on 21 August, Zuma didn’t answer the EFF’s questions about when he would pay back a portion of the money spent on his Nkandla homestead.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi insinuated on Twitter on Wednesday that the EFF could also make use of their Constitutional right to protest.

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