SONA: Final touches being put in place

2014-02-12 18:53
President Jacob Zuma in Parliament. (Photo: file, AFP)

President Jacob Zuma in Parliament. (Photo: file, AFP)

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Cape Town - Workers were on Wednesday putting the finishing touches in place for President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation address at Parliament.

Members of the army, navy, and airforce had largely completed their rehearsals for the ceremony that would precede Zuma's speech on Thursday evening.

Air force jets had been roaring overhead in the days leading up to the event. Several roads were closed so the navy and army could practise their parades along the route leading to the parliamentary precinct.

Workers were setting up speakers and makeshift stages for the various local performers who will entertain those invited to the event.

The cobblestones along Parliament Street, where the red carpet would be rolled out, were given a scrubbing to remove traces of horse manure and bird droppings.

Marquees had been set up for television presenters doing running commentary during Thursday's proceedings. MPs and parliamentary staff walked around the precinct with their dry-cleaning and new outfits, presumably to wear on Thursday.

Road closures

Parliamentarians are known to show off their designer outfits, be it traditional dress or more modern attire.

MPs and members of Zuma's Cabinet, as well as special guests, would start arriving at 16:00. From 17:00, premiers, members of the judiciary and heads of missions, among others, would start making their way to the National Assembly up Parliament Street.

They would precede Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Parliament's presiding officers. Zuma would follow, before taking the national salute on the podium of the National Assembly steps while the navy band played the national anthem.

There would be a 21-gun salute and a fly past by the air force before Zuma would make his way into the Assembly to deliver his speech at 19:00.

Motorists should expect delays in the Cape Town city centre as dozens of roads in the vicinity would be closed for hours. Some of the busiest roads, including Adderley, Strand, and Wale streets would be closed between 16:00 and 22:00.

Parking restrictions would also apply.

- SAPA

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  parliament 2014  |  state of the nation 2014
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