Police and Parliament security to deal with SONA safety….
Cape Town – SAPS and Parliament’s security, and not the SANDF, will provide safety and security at the opening of Parliament, the government said on Wednesday.
It made the assurance following an uproar over the deployment of 441 SA National Defence Force members to the State of the Nation Address on Thursday.
The soldiers were part of the annual programme, which included a guard of honour, military band, flag bearers, a ceremonial motorcycle escort, and the gun salute, government communications acting director general Donald Liphoko said.
On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma announced the deployment of the soldiers for SONA. The DA said it was a violation of the separation of powers, while the EFF called it a “declaration of war”.
Liphoko said those who had been granted permission to hold pickets and demonstrations on the day were liaising with the City of Cape Town.
“Government and Parliament work together to ensure that people are always able to participate in activities like the State of the Nation Address,” he said.
Preparations for Thursday were on track and included ensuring the safety of dignitaries, the media, and members of the public, both inside and outside Parliament.
This year government was providing greater public access to SONA proceedings, with 40 live viewing events across the country.
Zuma will deliver his State of the Nation Address on Thursday at 19:00.