Guests begin to arrive for SONA 2024

As the moment grows closer for President Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver the State of the Nation Address this evening (SONA), guests have begun streaming in for the much anticipated event at the Cape Town City Hall. Preparations are on track for the SONA which coincides with the opening of Parliament. Speaking on the red carpet, Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, said: '[I am looking forward to] everything that the President will talk about, giving an account of the work that we committed to when he delivered last year's SONA and what it is he's going to bring for this financial year especially because we are in the last year of the [sixth] administration'. For his part, Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, said: 'All I can say is, let's allow the President to report on our behalf as the Executive. Only then will we able to elaborate as the different Executive Members on the statement of the President to the nation.' Deputy Minister of Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo was mor e pointed and said he hopes the President will 'hint' as to when the National Health Insurance Bill will be signed into law. 'I can only be territorial and speak about what one would like to see on health. Last year, you had the National Health Insurance Bill going to the two Houses. In June last year, it was passed in the National Assembly and in December it was passed in the [National Council of Provinces]. 'That Bill is now at the desk of the President and the excitement is that the President will hint, not give us a day, that he will be signing this Bill into law,' Dhlomo said. A very special guest at this evening's proceedings is praise singer or imbongi, Senziwe Hatty Maliba, also known as Nkosatane Nziwe. The 24-year-old is tasked with ushering in the President as he enters the chambers to deliver the address. 'I am excited. It is a great honour to be here and it is a great platform as well. I have been preparing ever since they told me that I have been chosen to usher in the President with a poem . The poem is about everything…society,' she said. The President is expected to deliver his address from 7pm. Source: South African Government News Agency