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President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his state of the nation address in February in the Cape Town city hall.
This was the decision taken on Friday by the presiding officers of parliament — speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chair Amos Masondo — after considering various venues on offer, including the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the chamber of the Cape Town city council.
Parliament will not be charged for the use of the city hall.
A change in venue was made necessary by the devastating fire that gutted the National Assembly on Sunday and Monday. This is where the president normally delivers his state of the nation address, which outlines the government’s priorities and plans for the year ahead. It is delivered to a combined sitting of the National Assembly and the NCOP.
In a media statement, the presiding officers said “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 SA, former president Nelson Mandela, addressed the nation after his release from prison on 11 February 1990, with President Cyril Ramaphosa by his side.
“Again, on 9 May 1994, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu introduced Tata Mandela to thousands of jubilant South Africans in the same balcony after his election in the NA [National Assembly] as the first democratic president.”
They noted that the city hall, which was built in 1905, is a historic landmark that is now home to a full-sized statue of Mandela on its balcony from where he addressed the nation for the first time after his release from prison. The statue was installed in 2017. An exhibition inside the city hall dedicated to Mandela is a permanent feature.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.