Sona to go ahead despite disruption threats by EFF

National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise says the state of the nation address will go on, despite interruption threats.
National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise says the state of the nation address will go on, despite interruption threats.
Image: Tsheko Kabasia

Parliament has assured the public that the Thursday State of the Nation Address (Sona) by President Cyril Ramaphosa will go ahead despite threats by the EFF to disrupt it.

The presiding officers Thandi Modise and Amos Masondo on Tuesday said that they were security measures in place to ensure that the president’s address goes ahead.

Ramaphosa will on Thursday deliver his second Sona since being elected president last year.

He is expected to address issues grappling the country which includes the surging unemployment rate and looming job losses at state-owned entities, including Telkom and South African Airways.

He is also set to address electricity issues that have resulted in Eskom implementing loadshedding.

Opposition party, the EFF, has, however, threatened to disrupt the sitting should Ramaphosa not fire public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan by the time he takes the podium.

“The presiding officers of parliament once again assure the public that parliament has appropriate mechanisms to maintain decorum and dignity during the State of the Nation Address or any programme of parliament,” parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

“Existing joint rules of parliament sufficiently protect sittings of the houses and committees from disorder.”

The EFF have become synonymous with disrupting parliament sittings by either raising endless points of order or breaking into Struggle songs.

This was always the order of the day during the fifth and sixth administration under former president Jacob Zuma where the disruptions sometimes got violent between parliament protection services officers and EFF members of parliament.

“Open threats to disrupt the work of parliament, including the propagation of conspiracy theories, are not in the interests of the public. They serve only as attempts to distract parliament from its work,” Mothapo said.

He also urged the EFF to bring forward evidence to support their claim that parliament had deployed members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to parliament.

The EFF on Tuesday said that following their announcement on plans to disrupt parliament, it had come to their attention that parliament security head Deon Van De Spuy was holding secret meetings to “co-ordinate a conspiracy to smuggle” SAPS members into parliament.

“The misguided and foolish intention is to bring members of SAPS dressed in white and black, in a similar way it was done in the fifth parliament in defence of corrupt and incompetent former president Jacob Zuma,” EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said.

“Any attempt to suppress the opposition in parliament who are protected by the powers, privileges and immunities of parliament and provincial legislatures act will be met by decisive and radical response.”