Mbeki to attend opening of Parliament
Cape Town - Former president Thabo Mbeki will be joined at President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address on Thursday by former speaker Frene Ginwala and former deputy president Baleka Mbete, Parliament said on Monday.
Also in the public gallery will be former chief justices Pius Langa and Arthur Chaskalson, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and the speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, Lovemore Moyo.
Mbeki missed Zuma's first two State of the Nation speeches, and Zuma in turn omitted all mention of his successor in his annual address to the nation.
Commentators have said Mbeki's presence showed he did not want his legacy ignored. The presidency however dismissed all speculation, saying it was merely logistics that caused him to miss the earlier two State of the Nation speeches.
Speaker Max Sisulu said Zuma's speech would for the second year be held at 19:00 because surveys had shown that the time change "was well received by the general public".
The aim of holding the opening in the evening was to enable as many people as possible to follow the event on television.
The government communication service was setting up big screens in all major cities to enable those who did not have televisions to watch the president's address.
The new timeslot caused traffic chaos in Cape Town last year, and Parliament said it would do "all necessary" to prevent motorists suffering the same problem on Thursday.