State of the Nation Address 2023 by President Cyril Ramaphosa

What is the State of the Nation Address (SONA)?

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is one of the most important annual events in the parliamentary calendar.

  • The President delivers a speech focusing on the plans of government for the coming year.
  • The speech is delivered to Parliament during a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
  • SONA commonly known as the “Opening of Parliament”.
  • All three (3) Arms of the State, namely; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary attend SONA.

When and where does SONA take place?

The President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, called for a Joint Sitting of the NA and the NCOP on Thursday, 9 February 2023, at 19:00, to deliver the State of the Nation Address. He did this in terms of Section 84 (2)(d) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 read with Rule 7 (1)(a) of the Joint Rules of Parliament.

  • The venue for SONA is usually the NA Chamber. After the chamber caught fire on 2 January 2022, the Executive Authority of Parliament decided that SONA will take place at the Cape Town City Hall.
  • The Speaker of the NA and the Chairperson of the NCOP jointly preside over SONA.

Public involvement and participation in SONA

During the State of the Nation Address, the public are informed about government’s planned priorities for the year ahead. The public can further participate by sending recommendations to the President in the lead-up to SONA using #SONA2023 or our Parliament of RSA Facebook page.

  • Watch SONA live on Parliament TV (DSTV channel 408)
  • View SONA on YouTube

SONA and Parliament’s oversight function

One of Parliament’s key functions is to monitor and oversee the actions of government.

SONA forms part of Parliament’s oversight (monitoring) function to improve service delivery and to achieve a better quality of life for all living in South Africa.

What happens during SONA?

The President uses the occasion to address the nation as both Head of State and Government to:

  • Set out the government’s priorities for the coming year.
  • Highlight the achievements and challenges of the previous year.
  • The full SONA ceremony comprises a ceremonial Military Guard of Honour; a military band; a 21-gun salute and a South African Air Force fly past while the President takes the national salute.
  • This year, the official language of SONA will be isiZulu and a praise singer from the KwaZulu-Natal province will usher the President into the City Hall.
  • A candle lighting vigil to honour the late Dr Frene Ginwala who was was the first Speaker of the NA of our democratic Republic and signing of a book of condolence.

Why is SONA important?

It grants government (Executive) an opportunity to account to Parliament and the South African public. It is also about celebrating our nation and nation-building.

SONA and the Budget

  • Two weeks after SONA, the Minister of Finance introduces the Budget for the coming year.
  • The budget speech is based on government’s priorities set out by the President in his speech.

For more information on how to get involved and participate in YOUR parliament please visit our website