These official functions take place at the beginning of each year, during the month of February, after the State of the Nation address has been delivered by the President of the Republic of South Africa. The occasions mark the commencement of the next session of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature. During the past three terms, these events were held at the Royal Agricultural Show Grounds. This came about due to a shortage of space in the Legislature Chamber – the public gallery seats only 120 guests, whilst attendance at these events ranges from 1 500 to 2 000 people.
His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini has opened every session of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on the first day of the proceedings, and the Premier delivers his State of the Province Address on the second day.
The two events mentioned above are lavish ceremonies, with MPLs and guests dressed up to the nines. Ceremonial procedures and protocol are followed in respect of His Majesty the King, the Premier, members of the royal household and distinguished guests.
VIP guests are chosen from various spheres of public life, such as the diplomatic or consular corps, the Royal Household, National Parliament, heads of departments (HODs), prominent business leaders, religious leaders, civic organizations, academic institutions and local and district municipalities.