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Here’s why the EFF rejected Cape Town City Hall as Sona venue

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu says the red berets did not agree for the Sona to be held in the Cape Town City Hall.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu says the red berets did not agree for the Sona to be held in the Cape Town City Hall.
Image: Werner Hills

The EFF has rejected the Cape Town City Hall as the venue for the state of the nation address (Sona), saying it will exclude some MPs.

On February 10 President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the address at the City Hall after a fire ripped through the National Assembly building at parliament earlier this month.

The fire gutted the building, including the chamber where official sittings of the assembly and joint sittings of both houses of parliament are held.

Speaking during a joint programming committee meeting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on Thursday, EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said the venue, which will only accommodate 300 MPs, was a “nonsensical arrangement”.

He said the EFF does not agree with the choice of venue because it will exclude at least 100 MPs.

“The chief whip of the ANC says there was an agreement but the EFF never agreed to that. Don’t force us into an agreement. No-one in the EFF, in any meeting, agreed to these arrangements.

“You can agree with yourselves, but you must take note that we never agreed to any nonsensical arrangement that was to exclude MPs because of Covid-19 regulations preventing more than 1,000 people from gathering ,” said Shivambu.

Shivambu said a bigger venue was advisable so all MPs could attend the Sona and debates.

“We may need to agree in principle that if we are going to convene parliament in a venue capable of accommodating all MPs, all MPs must be called to attend the Sona and debates,” he said.

“We would think that if there is scope to convene the entirety of parliament, let us do so. We then begin to illustrate to society that we are going into a different phase in terms of how we manage our response to the pandemic.”

This year’s Sona will not be held with the usual red carpet glamour and social events.

Secretary to the National Assembly Masibulele Xaso said the budget for the address was about R1.9m, but it could be reduced.

Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said there will be “fanciful things, that perhaps we can do without” at this year's Sona.

“Given the environment we are operating in, that is absolutely necessary,” he said.



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