WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS?
● The State of the Nation Address is an annual address by the
President to Parliament, as the representative of the people on the
state of the South African nation. It is an opportunity for the
President to take stock of our country's domestic and foreign
situation and to chart a common direction that we should take to enhance
and advance our efforts to achieve a better life for all.
● The State of the Nation is delivered to a joint sitting of
Parliament's National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.
● It is called by the President, through the Speaker of the
National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of
Provinces, when the President writes to them to request a joint sitting
of Parliament. The joint sitting is held in the National Assembly
● The State of the Nation Address is a state occasion and it is a
key event on our country's Parliamentary and political calendar.
● The President addresses the nation in his capacity as Head of
State - not only as Head of Government.
● It is one of the rare occasions when the different arms of the
state - the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature and the
Military - come together in one place and play out their Constitutional
roles in a public ritual which articulates and symbolises the separation
of powers between these different arms of the State.
● Parliament has invited a wide range of people to be present to
witness the President's State of the Nation Address in the National
Assembly Chamber. These guests include former Presidents, former Deputy
Presidents, former Presiding Officers of Parliament's two Houses, the
Judiciary, current Cabinet Ministers and Heads of Government
Departments, current members of Parliament and their guests and South
Africans from various walks of life.
● Guests who've indicated they will attend this State of the
Nation Address include former President Nelson Mandela, former President
of the previous (pre-democratic) South African government and Deputy
President under our democratic dispensation (non-racial and universal
franchise) FW de Klerk, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, Chief
Justice Sandile Ngcob, former Chief Justices Pius Langa and Arthur
Chaskalson, former National Assembly Speaker Frene Ginwala, former
Deputy Presidents Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Baleka Mbete. President
Jacob Zuma's spouses will also attend - Sizakele Khumalo-Zuma will
accompany the President in the ceremonial procession from the Slave
Lodge to the National Assembly building and Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma and
Thobeka Madiba-Zuma will be present in the National Assembly Chamber.
● Former President Thabo Mbeki has informed Parliament that he
will not be able to attend because he will be out of the country at the
● The State of the Nation Address on 11 February is a full
ceremonial one involving a mounted police escort and a military
ceremonial motor escort, the lining of the President's route by the
South African National Defence Force (SANDF), a national salute by the
Ceremonial Guard of the SANDF and a military band (the Navy Band on this
occasion), a fly-past by the South African Air Force and a 21-gun
salute. It also includes civilian participation in the walk by the
President, accompanied by Parliament's Presiding Officers, from the
Slave Lodge to the saluting dais in front of the New Wing where the
National Assembly Chamber is located. Former President Nelson Mandela
introduced the public participation component into the ceremony.
ACTIVITIES ON THE DAY
Proceedings at Parliament start at around 16.30 in the following
● Members of the Judiciary, Speakers of Provincial Legislatures,
Provincial Premiers and Diplomats arrive at the Company Gardens entrance
(in Government Avenue) to the Old Assembly.
● Junior and Civil Guards of Honour and Eminent Persons take up
positions on both sides of the red carpet along Parliament Street from
the entrance to the Parliamentary precinct.
● Former Presidents, former Deputy Presidents, the former National
Assembly Speaker and former Chief Justices arrive at the entrance to the
● Procession of Premiers, Speakers of Provincial Legislatures,
Judiciary, Parliament's Presiding Officers, Deputy President and
● The President takes the national salute on a podium outside the
National Assembly building (at 18.55). A fly past by the South African
Air Force takes place at the same time.
● The President delivers his State of the Nation Address in the
National Assembly Chamber (at 19.00).
● Parliament's Presiding Officers adjourn the Joint Sitting of
the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (at about
● The President, Deputy President and Parliament's Presiding
Officers leave the National Assembly Chamber.
● Guests and Members of Parliament leave the National Assembly
VIRTUAL, INTERNET MARCH OF YOUNG PEOPLE
There is also a virtual, cyberspace march to Parliament by about 11 000
young South Africans. This internet march is being organised by the
Parliamentary Millennium Project as part of the Project's Bokamoso Ba
Rona (Our Future) Youth Campaign. The Campaign aims to encourage
interest among young people in Parliamentary processes and the
President's State of the Nation Address. For more information, please
Parliament's theme for the 11 February 2010 State of the Nation
Address is "CELEBRATE MANDELA'S LEGACY - CONTRIBUTE TO NATION
BUILDING". This is in keeping with the commemoration of former
President Nelson Mandela's release from prison 20 years ago on 11
February 1990. It's also in keeping with Parliament's Constitutional
obligation to promote the values of non-racialism and non-sexism and to
serve as a platform for public consideration of issues of national
concern. The letter and spirit of this theme will receive special
emphasis in the business of Parliament throughout the year. According to
our Constitution, Parliament is one of the most important platforms for
the public to consider issue of national importance. As Parliament, we
are concerned about redefining the role of Parliament in society and the
role of society in Parliament.
With the dawn of democracy in 1994, Parliament's doors opened to all
South Africans. The occasion of the State of the Nation Address became a
celebration of our nation, with public participation added to the
State's ceremonial activities. This is former President Nelson
Mandela's legacy to our State of the Nation Address proceedings.
Members of the public take part in the ceremony through a:
Junior Guard of Honour
This comprises about 200 students from schools located in all
provinces. This year they come from:
Eastern Cape - Phillip Mtywaku High School
Gauteng - Tetelo secondary School, Kliptown High School
Free State - Sehunelo High School, Commtech High School
KwaZulu Natal - Merlewood Secondary School, Zuzanawe Secondary School
Limpopo - Rehuditse Phophi
Mpumalanga - Lekazi Secondary School, Hoërskool Nelspruit
Northern Cape - Dikgatlhong Secondary School, Elizabeth Conradie
North West - Vryburg Junior, Stellaland
Western Cape - Yomelela Public Primary School, De Kuilen, Ravensmead
Civil Guard of Honour
Participants are chosen to reflect aspects of Parliament's theme for
the State of the Nation Address. This year representatives come from the
following 10 civil society organisations:
● New World Foundation
● Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereeniging
● Trust for Community Outreach and Education
● Surplus People's Project
● Peace Parks Foundation (SA College for Tourism)
● Community Development Programme
● Movers Senior Club
● Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability
● Disabled People of South Africa
● Molo Songololo
These are people who have made extraordinary contributions to our
society's development in various fields. They are nominated by
Provincial Speakers from all nine provinces - one per province. This
year, Parliament's Presiding Officers have nominated a tenth,
additional, Eminent Person.
Mrs Sizakele Ernestinah Simelane is a retired school teacher. She was
nominated by her Province because of her contribution to the welfare and
care giving for the elderly in the community. She has also played an
important role in the advancement of the struggle for the emancipation
of women in her community from oppression, abuse and exploitation.
Mrs Simelane served as PR councillor between 1997 and 2006 in Bethal.
She is a member of the following organizations;
1) ANC Women's League
2) Thandanani Old Age Group
3) Govan Mbeki SANCO Branch
4) Bambanani Women's Club
5) Roman Catholic Sacred Heart
6) Coordinator of Thandanani Home Base Care for frail older
Dr Pule Matjoa is a struggle veteran. He was born in Bloemfontein in
1938 and cut his political teeth in the ANC Youth League, participating
actively in boycotts, marches, meetings and various demonstrations in
Dr Matjoa went into exile in Zimbabwe (the then Rhodesia) where he
worked underground with veterans such as Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe.
He also served in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) under the Southern African
United Front which was a front formed by ANC, PAC and SWAPO, under the
leadership of the ANC. During this period, he was deployed in the tender
section of the Department of Communications.
He received military training in Cuba in 1963 and became actively
involved in the Young Communist League of Cuba. Dr Matjoa returned to
Tanzania where he became active in Radio Freedom broadcasts to South
Africa. He received further military training and attended various
military courses in the Soviet Union, formed the Directorate of Security
and Intelligence and later joined the Communist Party of South Africa.
He travelled extensively in various countries in Europe and Africa for
the ANC, and on his return to South Africa he continued his involvement
in community work, particularly in the health sector. He is a member of
Dental Association in South Africa.
Mr Matsobane Morris Matsemela was born in 1931 in Mashashane. He is one
of the ANC struggle veterans who played an important role during the
1950s and 1960s. He was instrumental in the Sharpeville uprisings and
was arrested for his involvement in it.
Mr Matsemela later joined Umkhonto we Sizwe, became involved in
sabotage operations and was later arrested and served time in Leeuwkop
prison. He was sent to Robben Island where he met struggle stalwarts
such as President Jacob Zuma, and on his release in 1971 he was deported
to Lenyenye, where he was banned for two years.
Currently, he is the Deputy Chairperson of the ANCVL in the Capricorn
Region in Limpopo and he is also an active member of MKMVA in the
Ms Nokuhamba Nyawo was born in 1920 in Ingwavuma. She played an
important role in the underground structures of Umkhonto we Sizwe where
she was involved in rural guerrilla warfare. Ms Nyawo operated in the
Ingwavuma area where she did intelligence gathering about enemy
movements and logistical supplies to guerrillas, as well as other
crucial underground work.
Mr Curtis Nkondo will be represented by his wife, Rose. Mr Nkondo is
described as someone who was close to the hearts of many people during
the difficult years of trying to end apartheid education and establish a
democratic system of education. He is remembered for many things,
including the fact that he personified the goals of non-racism and
democracy. Mr Nkondo was a teacher to the end, a revolutionary,
political philosopher, activist, and a great human being.
He was instrumental in the formation of Soweto Teacher's Action
Committee which inspired the formation of National Education Union of
South Africa. This in turn led to the formation of South African
Democratic Teacher's Union.
Mr Zoyisile Nelani was born in Umtata 71 years ago. He joined the ANC
in 1956 and was given the task of organizing the youth in his area. He
later joined Umkhonto we Sizwe and was arrested on numerous occasions
for his involvement in underground activities.
In 1982 he served in a committee that organised the installation of
water taps for the community. He also contributed to the construction of
a high school, which assisted in the education of the youth in the area.
Mr Nelani addressed such issues as land restitution and agriculture and
health matters, and the construction of health service clinics.
Mr Ismael Mathobela was born in Kimberley in 1926. He is an ANC Veteran
who played an important role in the struggle for freedom in South
Africa. Currently, he is the Chairperson of the recently launched ANC
Veterans League in Northern Cape.
Mr John Nkadimeng, nominated by Parliament's Presiding Officers, was
born in Sekhukhuniland in the rural Eastern Transvaal in 1925. Mr
Nkadimeng joined the ANC in 1950 through the influence of his close
friend, Flag Boshielo. He was appointed to the ANC national executive
committee in December 1955 at its congress in Bloemfontein, and in 1956
he was one of 156 Congress activists accused of treason. He remained a
defendant throughout the lengthy trial, until his acquittal in 1961.
Mr Nkadimeng assisted the Human Rights Welfare Committee, which was
established to make contact with banished people throughout South Africa
and to find those who had been banished after the Sekhukhuni trials in
the late 1950s.
On 24 June 1963, he was detained as a suspected saboteur and held at
Fordsburg police station under the 90-day legislation. He was charged
along with others who had attempted to leave the country and it is Mr
Nkadimeng's belief that this was an attempt to obtain information from
him regarding the whereabouts of Walter Sisulu. He was later detained at
Erasmia where, despite the fact that it was winter, he was held in
freezing conditions and denied a coat or blankets.
Sabotage charges against Nkadimeng were dropped but he was charged with
furthering the aims of furthering an unlawful organisation. He was
convicted in May 1964, served his sentence at a prison in the former
Orange Free State and was released in 1966.
Whilst in detention in Fordsburg in 1963, Nkadimeng was issued with a
banning order, which remained in effect when he came out of prison. He
was restricted to the area of Orlando West, Johannesburg. He remained
under banning orders until he fled the country on 24 July 1976; a month
after the start of the Soweto uprising.
As general secretary of the South African Congress of Trade Unions, Mr
Nkadimeng propagated the formation of one central federation of trade
unions in South Africa, and called on unions to unite in the Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
When the South African Communist Party was relaunched as a legal body
on 29 July 1990, it was announced that Mr Nkadimeng was a member of its
central committee, and he was named as one of the party's 22-person
Mr Nkadimeng was appointed South African Ambassador to the Republic of
Cuba in August 1995.
Mrs Rachmatunisa Jaffer was already a grandmother when she threw
herself headlong into the anti-apartheid struggle.
Her hatred for the evil system through most of her life was converted
to active resistance when her daughter Zubeida was detained and tortured
by the security police in 1980. The detention of her sons Mansoor and
Adam in 1985 and 1986 respectively, further hardened her resolve to
dedicate much of her life to the struggle against apartheid.
She was born in 1926, the seventh child in a family of 10.
In 1986, UWO amalgamated with a group called Women's Front to form
the United Women's Congress. Under the banner of the UDF, UWCO
intensified its campaigns against apartheid and particularly raised
issues of women's equality. Many UWCO members were either detained or
went into hiding during the 1985 and 1986 States of Emergency.
As a result of her political activism, Rachmatunisa was nominated for
The Star newspaper's award for unsung heroines in 1988. She became a
member of the African National Congress after its unbanning and was
elected chairperson of the Southern Suburbs structure of the Women's
Today, in her 83rd year, Rachmatunisa still keenly follows political
processes in the country and is active in supporting development
projects, a key one being support for the palliative work of Hospice
Mrs Benjamin. We regret that biographical details were not available
for her at the time of posting this information.
Mass media communication
The State of the Nation Address will be broadcast live through the
Parliament website (www.parliament.gov.za), SABC television and radio,
ETV, Primedia radio, other media (including community radio and
television stations) and the screening of the State of the Nation
Address on big screens in all provinces. For details of big screen
broadcasts, please contact the Government Communication and Information
System on 021-461 8145/6 or on 082 453 2874 (Nebo).
WHAT'S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF:
The Presidential procession to the National Assembly Chamber?
The ceremony, which starts at the Slave Lodge, just outside the
entrance to the Parliamentary precinct, is a combination of public
participation and a formal state ceremony.
It is normally an annual (there are two in an election year) ceremony
of state at which the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature
(Parliament) play out their constitutional roles in full view of the
The public participation part of the procession is important because
Parliament strives to make the institution accessible to people and to
encourage public participation in its workings.
From the entrance to the Parliamentary precinct, members of the South
African public line the red carpet.
There is a Junior Guard of Honour from the entrance of Parliamentary
precinct to the end of the National Council of Provinces building.
A Civil Guard of Honour and nine Eminent Persons line the route after
this until the end of the Old Assembly Wing.
Entertainers also perform on a stage along the public participation
section of the route.
From here onwards, the procession becomes part of a formal, state
A Ceremonial Military Guard of Honour take up positions in front of the
New Wing in which the National Assembly Chamber is located and a
military band - this year the Navy Band - sets up to the right of the
New Wing (the side nearest Tuynhuys) and plays the national anthem. A
21-gun salute and an air force fly-past takes place while the President
takes the national salute from a special dais.
The red carpet?
Rolling out a red carpet was originally reserved for kings and queens
and signified a welcome of great hospitality and ceremony. Over time,
the red carpet was also used to welcome Heads of State.
The 21-gun salute?
The tradition of rendering a salute by firing cannon originated in the
14th century when cannon and firearms came into use. In 1842, the 21-gun
salute became the international norm for the highest honour a nation
rendered and it is fired in honour of the Head of State, the national
flag, the Head of State of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning
royal family and a former Head of State.
Province Or State