A State of the Nation Address (SONA) free of any EFF-drama has become somewhat of a foreign concept and now with MPs set to descend onto Cape Town City Hall to hear President Cyril Ramaphosa lay out his government’s plans for the year on Thursday, 10 February 2022, should we be expecting any kind of disruption at the proceedings?
The EFF seem to have made it their mission to use the SONA to air their grievances by any means necessary. The last time the red berets upset the applecart of SONA was in 2020 – a month before the country went into lockdown. At the time, the party had demanded the removal of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan from office. While Ramaphosa ended up finishing his SONA, there was brief adjournment after the chaos.
EFF-SPONSORED DRAMA AT SONA?
For now, it doesn’t seem the EFF plans to disrupt the SONA, however leader Julius Malema had previously said the party would disregard the outlined COVID-19 protocols and all its MPs would physically be in attendance. Parliament announced that the SONA would be a hybrid event, with a limited numbers of MPs physically present and others participating in proceedings virtually.
The party had taken the matter to court, in a bid to force Parliament to allow all MPs to attend the proceedings in person, but the party abandoned its application. For the first time, the address will be held outside of the Parliamentary precinct, as a result of the fire which caused extensive damage to the Old Assembly building.
“As a matter of fact and law, the EFF was incorrect to assert in its founding affidavit that MPs have a legal right to be physically present at SONA because the Rules of Parliament allow for both virtual and physical attendance of sittings. Due to the format of SONA, it is not necessary that MPs attend in person as there are no deliberations and MPs are not given the opportunity to put questions to the President,” said Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.