NEWS
16/02/2018 06:46 SAST | Updated 16/02/2018 07:21 SAST

Sona 2018: It's 'All Systems Go'

Ramaphosa will deliver his first state of the nation address on Friday afternoon.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
President Cyril Ramaphosa smiles as he addresses MPs after being elected president in Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, February 15, 2018.

Cape Town - Preparations for a State of the Nation Address (SONA), to be given by incoming president Cyril Ramaphosa, is on track for Friday evening.

Ramaphosa was elected President at a sitting in the National Assembly on Thursday.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise chaired a joint programming committee meeting on Thursday to discuss logistics around Friday's planned SONA.

Parliament's acting secretary Penelope Tyawa, gave a breakdown of plans for the SONA after Jacob Zuma officially resigned as president and Parliament has received the letter.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Former president Jacob Zuma leaves after announcing his resignation at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2018.

SMSes have been sent to all invited guests and the guest list was reconciled at 11:00 and the accreditation process was kept the same as it was originally.

Plans are in place to accommodate all the outside broadcasting vans on the precinct, which is being administered by the Department of Public Works.

"It's all systems go," Tyawa said.

'We can do our hair and buy our clothes'

The mood in the joint committee was very relaxed on Thursday morning across the political spectrum.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu told joint committee that the change in schedule had given MPs an "opening" in the morning to prepare for SONA's usual traditions.

"The opening will allow us to go do our hair and buy our clothes and be ready for 19:00," he cracked.

Modise chirped back: "The doing of the hair will be across genders, it won't be specific to just women, thank you."

POOL New / Reuters
Cyril Ramaphosa is sworn in as the new South African president at the parliament in Cape Town, South Africa February 15, 2018.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi also had her say and commented that guests would be pleased that there would be no need for "bouncers" in the Chamber anymore.

Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Narend Singh also joked that the imbongi (praise singer) used during Zuma's tenure should be replaced with a new one for the new president.

Mbete closed the meeting by wishing everyone a belated, happy Valentine's Day.

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