The State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2018

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is an annual speech given by the President as the Head of State which focuses on the current  socio-economic state of the nation.

This year, the State of the Nation Address will take place on  Friday, 16 Febraury 2018. 

What is the State of the Nation Address?

Parliament building in Cape Town

The State of the Nation Address is divided into 3 parts:

  1. The public participation role in the ceremony when the Civil Guard of Honour welcomes the President and his guests. 
  2. The state ceremonial, which includes a 21-gun salute and the South African Air Force flypast.
  3. The official address by the President.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will line the route that the President takes to Parliament.

The Military Guard of Honour will participate in the ceremony and the military band will play South Africa’s national anthem.

In a general election year, 2 State of the Nation Addresses are delivered.

The State of the Nation Address is one of the rare occasions where the 3 arms of State, namely the Executive represented by the President, Deputy President and Ministers; the Judiciary, represented by the country’s Chief Justice and the Judge Presidents; and the Legislature, represented by the Members of Parliament gather in one place.

 The provincial and local spheres of government are also represented.

When is the State of the Nation Address happening?

  • The State of the Nation Address (or SONA) will be delivered to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces).
  • The State of the Nation Address will be broadcast live on: DStv Channel 408, SABC TV, eNCA, ANN7, SABC radio stations and Parliament’s YouTube Channel
  • The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will be hosting a number of live broadcasts of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to ensure the President’s message is spread far and wide.

What happens during the State of the Nation Address? 

  • The President sets out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead.
  • It highlights the achievements and challenges experienced over the past year and maps the year ahead. (Please note: SONA 2018 has been posponed and the new date will be announced soon.)  
  • It covers wide-ranging political, economic and social matters and considers the general state of South Africa.
  • It deliberates on South Africa’s domestic affairs as well as its continental and international relations. 
  • The full address is recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings. 

Visit the South African Government News Agency for a more detailed outline of this year's State of the Nation Address

The content on this page was last updated on 15 February 2018