Parliament fire: State of the Nation Address to be hosted at Cape Town City Hall

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A general view of the damages caused by the Parliament fire.
A general view of the damages caused by the Parliament fire.
Photo by Gallo Images/Misha Jordaan
  • Parliament has decided that the State of the Nation Address will be delivered at Cape Town City Hall
  • This comes after a devastating fire destroyed the National Assembly and sections of the Old Assembly Chamber. 
  • Parliament said the extensive damage necessitated that the institution should find an alternative venue for the SONA.

Parliament has announced that the State of The Nation Address (SONA) will be held at Cape Town City Hall. 

This comes after a fire broke out at Parliament shortly before dawn on Sunday and spread to the National Assembly, causing the roof to collapse and threatening artworks and artefacts in the building.

In a statement, Parliament said its president officers met on Friday to consider various options for business continuity, including the SONA.

"We made a solemn undertaking that, despite the devastation of the disaster, we will not allow a situation where Parliament's work is derailed or disrupted in any manner," it said.

The fire, which firefighters battled for more than 70 hours, severely damaged the National Assembly building, including the National Assembly chamber, where the official sittings of the National Assembly and joint sittings of both Houses of Parliament are usually held.

READ MORE | Parliament fire: Report finds sprinkler valve was not serviced for several years and was closed

Parliament said the extensive damage meant the institution had to find an alternative venue for the SONA.

"[The] SONA is the only occasion that brings together the three arms of the state, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary under one roof," it said. 

The Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town offered the use of their venues for the business of Parliament. They offered the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the City Council Chambers and the City Hall. 

"The City Hall was considered a suitable venue technically in terms of infrastructure and its capacity. It is also a befitting place, considering its historical significance which is embedded in the minds and hearts of South Africans."

"Cape Town's City Hall is the first place where the founding president of our democratic South Africa, former president Nelson Mandela, addressed the nation after his release from prison on 11 February 1990, with President Cyril Ramaphosa by his side," it added.

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