Cyril Ramaphosa at SONA 2023

Live updates of the State Of Nation Address (SONA) 2023. Photo: Flickr

SONA 2023: ‘Making Your Future Work Better’ – Presiding Officers reveal theme

The Presiding Officers of Parliament said this year’s SONA theme was consistent with the the theme adopted by the sixth parliament.

Cyril Ramaphosa at SONA 2023

Live updates of the State Of Nation Address (SONA) 2023. Photo: Flickr

The Presiding Officers of Parliament inspected the Cape Town City Hall, which will host the State of the Nation Address (SONA) for the second year running, on Wednesday, 8 February, and declared that the national legislature is ready to host the opening of parliament,

READ: SONA 2023 venue spotlight: Cape Town City Hall, a historic building with a rich political legacy


The City Hall was officially declared a part of the parliamentary precinct for the purpose of the joint sitting of the National Assembly, and National Council of Provinces and all laws and joint rules will apply to the sitting as if it was held in the National Assembly chamber, which burnt down last year.

“The City Hall is now officially a precinct of Parliament, as per the definition of the precincts of Parliament provided for in Section 2 of the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.

“In addition to the State of the Nation Address, the hall will also host the two-day debate on the President’s address by the joint sitting of the Houses, the reply to the debate by the President and the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance, on 22 February,” said the Presiding Officers in a statement.

The Presiding Officers also revealed that the theme for the 2023 SONA was “Following up on our commitments: making your future work better.” They said this theme is consistent with the theme adopted by the sixth parliament.

490 MPs and 263 GUESTS

The Cape Town City Hall will host approximately 490 Members of Parliament and representatives from the Local Government Association (SALGA) in the floor of the main chamber, while 263 guests from various sectors of society will be accommodated in the public gallery of the Hall.

The 2023 SONA will follow the full ceremony format. Before Ramaphosa delivers his speech at 19:00 on Thursday, there will be a 21-gun salute, a South African Airforce flyover, the lining of the route, a ceremonial guard, a salute of the step guard, the singing of the national anthem and more.

Some prominent guests who have confirmed their attendance include former president Thabo Mbeki, former Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Deputy Chief Justice Mandisa Maya and the Mayor of Cape Town, Mr Geordin Hill-Lewis.

This year, isiZulu praise singer Msawenkosi Duma from KwaZulu-Natal will usher the President into the chamber. Parliament said the role of the imbongi in SONA has been an important feature of the event since 1994 and remains crucial to the celebration of cultural diversity and social cohesion.