Journalists, MPs protest signal jamming at Sona 2015

Journalists reporting on the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday were shocked to discover absolutely no cellphone reception available at the National Assembly.

It soon emerged that the cellphone signal had been jammed.

The South African National Editors Forum expressed its disgust with the decision to cut off communication signals around the National Assembly chamber and called on Parliamentary officials and the Presidency to review the decision to do so.

Sanef had earlier released a statement expressing “serious concern” about Parliament’s refusal to guarantee that the broadcasting of the address would not be stopped in the event of a disruption by MPs.

By the time President Jacob Zuma’s cavalcade arrived at Parliament, journalists had begun a protest in the National Assembly, shouting “bring back the signal!” The chant soon spread throughout the House.

The SABC, reporting live on the events, commented that “MPS are chanting the names of their parties” and referred to the protest as “jovial festivities”.

MPs rose soon after the Sona began to raise the issue of the cellphone jamming and, shortly afterwards, the audio feed from Parliament was cut. However, the live feed was restored by 7.20pm, and the cellphone signal is now reportedly working.

– Featured image via GCIS.