A statement on Monday said the secretary to Parliament‚ Gengezi Mgidlana‚ had made a commitment last week “that the same provisions of the previous years will apply in 2017 with even additional support to enable the media to comprehensively cover” President Jacob Zuma’s speech.
At least seven streets around the parliamentary precinct will be closed for two days before Thursday’s address‚ according to an internal memorandum from Mgidlana to all staff members.
Body searches are also on the cards as an increased number of security officials are expected to be deployed to the city centre. A special entrance for accredited media will be created and journalists will be restricted to the “media square” and designated areas.
Monday’s statement said this signalled an improvement as the “introduction of personalised tickets with seat allocations to avoid unauthorised occupation of limited space for about 60 media representatives‚ by people who are not media workers”.
“Last year‚ media had complained about this matter and as a responsive Parliament such concerns were addressed for the 2017 state of the nation address‚” it added.