The EFF has rejected the SONA venue over reduced capacity. Image: EFF/ Twitter

EFF condemns SONA 2022 venue after learning of reduced capacity

The EFF has rejected the new venue for the State of the Nation Address after learning only 300 MPs may attend.


The EFF has rejected the SONA venue over reduced capacity. Image: EFF/ Twitter

The Economic Freedom Fighters have rejected the decision to use Cape Town City Hall as a venue for the State of the Nation Address. This comes after the new venue was confirmed following the fire at Parliament.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver his address, spending around R2 million on the event, next month. However, the EFF has voiced concerns over this decision during a point programming committee meeting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu has rejected the notion entirely and questioned why a larger venue could not be found in order to accommodate all members of Parliament. This was in response to the news that 300 MPs would attend the event while the remainder would join virtually.

The EFF has rejected the SONA venue over reduced capacity. Image: EFF/ Twitter

Budget sees SONA attendees reduced: EFF dismayed

Masibulele Xaso, secretary of the National Assembly explained that the budget at this point remains uncertain.

“And of course, members would ask about the budget. What we can indicate at this point is that the budget is around R1.9 million at the moment, but that is being refined and it could go down,”

Nevertheless, the EFF has pointed out that the current lockdown regulations allow for up to 2 000 attendees for outdoor activities.

“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 thereafter. “So, we would think that, if there is scope to convene the entirety of Parliament, let us do so. So that we then begin to illustrate to society that we are now going to a different phase in terms of how we manage our response to the pandemic, there must be permissibility of MPs who must lead from the front that let’s gather all of us…However, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said a decision on the Sona venue had already been made and that members should accept that, and not open it up for discussion.”

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu

Budget, COVID-19 reduces number of MPs attending

In response to the backlash from the EFF, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina explained it had been in the interest of the team to have all MPs attend.

“It is possible that you can have all members. We have looked at various venues. But also, we looked at the financial implications of that. That is why we settled on the city hall. It was ideal to get all MPs, but unfortunately due to the venue capacity, we’re unable to get all of them.”