The eyes of many South Africans will be on the Parliamentary precinct come Thursday evening for reasons ranging from viewing a display of precision military skills through to expectations of a new commander-in-chief for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

Thursday is State of the Nation Address (SONA) day when the President tells a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces via a live, televised address to the nation what South Africans can expect from Parliament in the year ahead.

The pomp and ceremony side of the event has traditionally resided with the SANDF and this year will be no different with elements from three services taking part.

While their contribution will be among the shortest, one to look out for is a five-ship flypast by the Silver Falcons. This was confirmed to defenceWeb by Brigadier General; Mafi Mgobozi, Director: Defence Corporate Communication. The aerobatic team of the SA Air Force (SAAF) in December marked its 50th anniversary at its home base, AFB Langebaanweg.

The National Ceremonial Guard (NCG) will be part of the parade in the Parliamentary precinct before and after the address to be delivered by the South African president. The guard is recognised as the premier drill unit in the SANDF and has its own distinctive uniform and drills with rifles.

The 21 gun salute at this year’s SONA will be the responsibility of Reserve Force unit, the Cape Field Artillery (CFA).

In August last year CFA marked its 160th anniversary exercising its freedom of entry into the city of Cape Town via a parade it shared with AFB Ysterplaat. CFA is generally accepted as being the oldest active artillery regiment in the Commonwealth.