Sona imbongi to make a return following ‘pressure’ from the public

Parliament has made a u-turn in a decision to exclude an imbongi ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address.

The legislature last week announced it was cutting the traditional praise singer from the programme as part of austerity measures in slashing the cost of Sona.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said the cost to host Sona would be around R2-million. That’s down from more than R9-million five years ago.

Several cultural groupings and the National Heritage Council were up in arms over the exclusion of the imbongi as every democratically elected head of state since 1994 has had a praise singer usher in proceedings.

Now, Parliament has confirmed an imbongi, will in fact be present.

“We can confirm that tonight we will have an imbongi. That pressure the public put on us has been heard. We’ll have a praise singer from the Khoi and San people,” Modise said on Thursday morning.

But while a praise singer will be heralding the president’s arrival, Parliament has ensured all costs are to be kept at a minimum.

One thousand two hundred guests have been invited to attend the address. Excluded from this Sona programme is a civilian and eminent person guard of honour. There will also be no post-Sona gala dinner as this was scrapped several years ago.

Parliament’s cost-cutting measures are having a ripple effect in provincial legislatures around the country.

Last week, Eastern Cape provincial legislature speaker Helen Sauls-August announced that costs for the State of the Province event would be cut from R5-million to R700 000. 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

Related stories

Fix economy: Cut, build, tax

Expert panel presents a range of solutions to the economic crisis that include cost cutting, infrastructure spending and a solidarity levy

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

Watch it again: Ramaphosa details economic recovery plan

According to the Presidency, the plan aims to expedite, in a sustainable manner, the recovery of South Africa’s economy

Malawi’s new president is off to a good start

In 100 days of presidency, Lazarus Chakwera has been mostly well received despite a few glitches

Ramaphosa reiterates support for emerging farmers

On the back of the announcement that the government would allocate more land to be leased by emerging farmers, President Cyril Ramaphosa says that beneficiaries will also be trained in financial management and enterprise development

Citizens tired of being played for a fool

The use of a South African Air Force jet by ANC officials without the minister following the required procedures is one such case — and more questions arise on examination of that case

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Eastern Cape universities concerned by rising Covid cases

Fort Hare says 26 more students have tested positive while Walter Sisulu University says some of its students have been admitted to hospital.

SAA in talks to recoup R350-million in blocked funds...

The cash-strapped national carrier is in the process of recouping its blocked funds from Zimbabwe, which could go towards financing the airline’s business rescue plan

NSFAS’s woes do not help its mandate

Nehawu wants the scheme’s administrator, Randall Carolissen, to be removed

Unions cry foul over SABC dismissal costs and retrenchments

Broadcaster bodies say claims that a recent skills audit is unrelated to retrenchments are ‘irrational’

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday