Pretoria – The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) has warned, “any action aimed at disrupting the State of the Nation Address (SONA) or intentionally contravening the law, will be dealt with”.
NATJOINTS comprises various government departments including the South African Police Service, the South African National Defence Force, and the State Security Agency.
In a statement, NATJOINTS said it has put measures in place to ensure that the SONA takes place in a safe and secure environment at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday, (9 February 2023).
“It is important to emphasise that those who are not accredited or authorised to be in attendance, should avoid the area around the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday,” said the statement.
“Residents of Cape Town, spectators and those who are operating businesses in the vicinity of the Cape Town City Hall are advised about road closures ahead of the delivery of the President’s State of the Nation Address.”
Law enforcement officers have been deployed and are on high alert.
“To this end, the NATJOINTS is calling for the cooperation of the public, including those who will be in attendance as well as spectators,” said the statement released late Tuesday.
“Any action aimed at disrupting the SONA or intentionally contravening the law will be dealt with accordingly within the ambit of the law.”
The NATJOINTS has also directed all law enforcement agencies securing the SONA to execute their duties according to their Constitutional mandate and within relevant prescripts.
“In relation to aviation security, a Notice to all Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued by the Civil Aviation Authority which restricts the airspace within 1,5 nautical miles from the Cape Town City Hall on the 9 February 2023 between 13:00 up until 00:00,” said the statement.
“Only the South African Air Force (SAAF) will have flexible use of airspace during this period. Please note that this is strictly a ‘No-fly zone for Drones’.
“The airspace restrictions will also be in place during the Parliamentary Debate and Presidential reply on 14 to 16 February 2023 as well as during the Budget Speech, on the 22nd of February 2023.”
At least two political parties – the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the National Freedom Party (NFP) – publicly stated their intentions to disrupt President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech on Thursday.
NFP secretary general Canaan Mdletshe has stated in a published interview that President Ramaphosa “must not have it easy on Thursday … he must be disrupted”.
Pointing to the Phala Phala saga, the EFF recently said President Ramaphosa will not be allowed to speak at SONA because he is a “constitutional delinquent”.
However, the President denies any wrongdoing regarding the 2020 robbery on his farm and has called for calm while relevant law enforcement entities investigate the matter.