From the news desk

#SONA2017 raring to go

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VOCs outside broadcast crew will bring you rolling coverage from the 2017 State of the Nation Address, which will be delivered to the joint sitting of Parliament this evening at 19:00 sharp. Expect live red carpet reports, political analysis, commentary and live interviews with politicians. The build-up kicks off at 4pm until 9.30pm tonight. Tune in on 91.3fm and Follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter @vocfm with the hashtag #SONA2017

With political tensions at an all-time high, this year’s SONA promises to be one filled with high expectations – as the country faces a drought, high unemployment figures, education crisis and rampant corruption in public service. The address sets out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead, highlights achievements and challenges and maps out the way forward.

This year’s SONA comes amid increased security and restrictions upon media. This week, Zuma announced that 400 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been deployed in cooperation with the South African Police Service to maintain “law and order” at the SONA, a move criticised by opposition parties. Journalists have described the high security and access control as a means to censure the media, after widespread outrage following the signal jamming saga during the 2015 SONA.

In an unprecedented move, President Jacob Zuma’s address will run parallel with an ANC event he will address immediately after the traditional opening of Parliament tonight. 10 000 people are expected to attend what the party has called the People’s Assembly.

In a statement, the DA said the move by the President to deploy the military should be seen in the context of his “recent desperate attempts to ensure that he is protected from the criticism his Presidency is deserving of, including his latest stunt of addressing an ANC rally at the grand-parade immediately after the SONA.”

Meanwhile, a number of roads, mostly in the central business district (CBD), be closed for an extended period today. The road closures will affect the normal flow of traffic in and around the city bowl, Newlands, and the M3 and N2 city-bound lanes. As such, road users are asked to plan their routes accordingly.
Road users are also alerted to the closure of the M3 and N2 at 17:45 on Thursday. The M5 will be best option as an alternative route. VOC

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