The opening of Parliament

The opening of Parliament

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SONA: what you need to know

Fewer road closures, no ceremonial aspects + where to watch

Last update: Wednesday 10 February 2021

On Thursday, 11 February, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his fifth State of the Nations Address (SONA). However, this year's address comes with a few important changes. SONA will be a hybrid joint setting, no more than 50 guests may attend, and there will be no red carpet (goodbye SONA fashion parade) and fewer road closures.



You can watch President Ramaphosa give his State of the Nations speech from the National Assembly Chamber at 7pm. We will embed the broadcast right here closer to the time of the address or watch for the link update on our Facebook page.



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This year SONA will take the form of a hybrid joint sitting. It will be held in parliament, as usual, but only a percentage of the guests will attend. This will be a portion of Members of Parliament, representatives from the judiciary and the executive in the physical chamber. The rest of the guests will join virtually. 

Various ceremonial aspects that typically characterise SONA will be suspended. That means no red carpet and the procession of the three arms of the state. The 21-gun salute is cancelled, so is the participation of the junior and civil guard of honour. The military parade that leads the presidential procession onto the steps will also not happen, and imbongi (praise singer) will not make an appearance this year. On the upside, because of this, there will be far fewer road closures. 


Phase 1: 

The following roads around parliament will be closed from midnight, 10 February until 11:45pm 11 February, according to the South African Government

  • Church Square, corner of Spin and Parliament Street 

  • Roeland Street: between Plein and Buitekant Street 

  • Plein Street: between Roeland and Spin Street 

  • Spin Street: between Parliament and Plein Street 

  • Parliament Street: between Longmarket and Bureau Street 

  • St John’s Streets: between Roeland and Vrede Street

  • Adderley Street: between Wale Street and Longmarket Street 

  • St Mary’s Cathedral Parking Area: between Bouquet and Roeland Street 

  • Commercial Street between Buitenkant and Plein Street 

  • Barrack Street between Buitenkant and Plein Street 

  • Mostert Street between Buitenkant and Plein Street 

  • Wale Street up to Queen Victoria Street 

  • Hope Street from Roeland to Bouquet Street 

  • Longmarket to Barrack Street 

  • Church Street from St Georges Mall to Adderley Street

Phase 2: 

Change of direction will happen between 6am and 11:45pm on 11 February 2021: 

  • Commercial Street: between Plein and Buitenkant Street becomes bi-directional.


Phase 3: 

The following roads will be closed between 6am and 11:45pm on 11 February: 

  • Church Square 

  • Roeland Street: between Plein and 69m past Hope Street 

  • Closure of Company Gardens 

  • Government Avenue from Orange Street to Wale Street 

  • Plein Street from Barrack Street to Roeland Street • St Johns Street from Roeland Street to Bouquet Street 

  • Gallery Lane 

  • Bouquet Street 

  • Parliament Street from the gates of Parliament to Spin Street 

  • Commercial Street: between Plein Street and 10m past the Nieuw Meester entrance. 



Wondering where to watch the State Of The Nation? Watch the SONA 2021 Live here 


Join 57 000 people get the popular (and free) weekly newsletter for disxoveries you would not want to miss. Every Wednesday. Subscribe free here.


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