President Jacob Zuma has called a Joint Sitting of Parliament on 9 February 2017 to deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and preparations are continuing in earnest within government to ensure its success.
As part of the preparations on the side of the Executive, the President will convene the Cabinet Lekgotla from 1-4 February in Pretoria, to review the past year and discuss the priorities for the current year. The Cabinet Lekgotla follows the Lekgotla of the National Executive Committee of the governing party, the ANC, which sets the tone and direction for the Government Programme of Action each year, based on the organisation’s annual January 8 anniversary statement.
#SONA2017 takes place during the year in which one of the key architects of the free and democratic South Africa, Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo, would have turned 100 years old, had he lived. In this regard, the deliberations in the Cabinet Lekgotla will be informed by the uplifting legacy of OR Tambo, based on building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. Discussions are expected to reflect strongly on radical socio-economic transformation to uplift the poor and the working class and to move the country forward to prosperity and true reconciliation, which is what OR Tambo strove for.
#SONA2017, which will communicate the outcomes of the Lekgotla, will therefore celebrate the legacy and values of OR Tambo and will promote unity in action by all South Africans, towards prosperity and radical socio-economic transformation. The theme of #SONA2017 is The Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo: Unity in Action Together Moving South Africa Forward.
Given the continuing of slow economic growth, the Lekgotla will also deliberate strongly on efforts to reignite economic growth, working with other social partners, taking forward the achievements of the past year in promoting unity in action in protecting the economy and advancing growth in a difficult economic environment.
The Cabinet Lekgotla will be attended by Ministers and Deputy Ministers, as well as Premiers and representatives of the South African Local Government Association.
A number of activities will take place before and after the SONA.
Among the key activities, the President, supported by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment Promotion, will host a Pre-SONA Investor Briefing in Cape Town on 7 February 2017. The session will be attended by CEOs, labour leaders and the leadership of business organisations. The session will contribute to the preparations of the SONA and further promote unity in action towards inclusive growth.
The SONA will be followed by the prestigious Annual Presidential Golf Challenge tournament and fundraising dinner on 10 February, the proceeds of which will go to the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust. The Golf Challenge is organised by the Department of Public Service and Administration each year, and the sitting Head of State and Government decides the charity of his choice for the proceeds of the fundraiser.
Attending the Presidential Golf Challenge will be the President, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Directors-Generals, heads of State Owned Enterprises and Executives from private sector companies.
The Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust was formed in 1995 by its Patron, President Zuma, who was a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal at that time.
The Trust started its work in KwaZulu-Natal, and has since extended its footprints to the Eastern Cape and the Limpopo Provinces. It is intended that within three to five years, learners from all nine provinces will benefit. During its 21 years of existence, the Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust has benefited more than 20 000 learners.