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Celebrate the Legacy of Mandela – Contribute to Nation Building

The year 2010 has arrived. It is no ordinary year for Africa and for South Africa. It is no ordinary year for the Parliament of our republic and all its people.
With the World Cup on our doorstep and with the people of the world celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of former President Nelson Mandela from prison, we are all in a state of euphoria and filled with hope for a better world.
It is with this in mind that Parliament has adopted the theme for this year: “CELEBRATE THE LEGACY OF MANDELA – CONTRIBUTE TO NATION BUILDING”. Throughout the year the letter and spirit of this theme will permeate the business of Parliament.
President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address in the evening of Thursday, 11 will be the first major occasion where this commitment comes to fruition.
We are especially honoured that Mr Mandela has accepted to attend this occasion. The sheer presence of the man provides any occasion with grace and honour.
We have invited and will be proud hosts to several other distinguished men and women from each and every province of our country and from around the world. Among these are Madiba’s contemporaries, community builders and eminent persons as well as foreign dignitaries.
Part of Mr Mandela’s legacy, was a redefinition of the State of the Nation Address event. We owe it to him that today we have a deepening public participation element. This year will be no different from the past. Our Guards of Honour will be comprised of people from civil society organisations, schools and the community in general.
This time, we have also taken the concept of public participation into the cyberspace. A virtual march of over 11 000 young people is being staged on the internet to attend the event. This ‘march’ aims to encourage interest in the address and to popularise participation in governance processes. Through this innovative use of new media, Parliament hopes to nurture an awareness in legislative processes among the youth.
In collaboration with the Department of Education, we have identified some of the best teachers and learners from the education sector who will also be in the guards of honour. The members of the ‘Nelson Mandela reception committee’ will be in attendance. We will be unveiling an exhibition celebrating the legacy of Mandela. This will be part of a year-long celebration which will be themed differently every month.
The change in time for the delivery of the address has been a subject of debate since the announcement was made. The sole aim for this change is to make it possible for as many South Africans as possible to be part of this vital event on the country’s political calendar.
The State of the Nation Address is an important occasion when the President addresses the nation in his capacity as Head of State, taking stock of South Africa’s domestic and foreign situation and uniting the nation around a common understanding of the direction in which the country should be moving.
We will review everything in this regard after the event and determine how we want to handle it in the future.
We are conscious of the impact of the event on business around the city and we have taken steps to communicate this message to the residents and businesses in the affected areas in the city. We trust that everyone concerned will cooperate with us in making a success of this event.
The ceremonial aspects of the event remain unchanged. We will again have all the three arms of the state– the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature - coming together on the day.
We will have a mounted police escort and a military ceremonial motor escort, the lining of the President’s route by the South African National Defence Force, an imbongi, a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the SANDF, a military band (the South African Navy Band on this occasion), a fly-past by the South African Air Force and a 21-gun salute.
The live broadcasts of the State of the Nation Address will be available through live streaming on Parliament’s website, on television, radio and on big screens at various public centres in all provinces.
Parliament’s specific role, as the legislative arm of the state, is to pass laws and to hold the Executive accountable for the implementation of those laws. These laws are aimed at providing efficient and effective delivery of services to the citizens of South Africa.
However, Parliament is also one of the most important platforms for the public to consider issues of national concern.
Our determination to succeed in refining the role of parliament in society and the role of society in parliament is driven by a desire to pay a fitting tribute to Mr Mandela and all that he symbolises for humanity.
For more information on State of the Nation Address (and the ‘virtual march’) log on to:
For inquiries, please contact Luzuko Jacobs, head Parliamentary Communication Services, on 021-403 3635.