Costs slashed for EC legislature event

Helen Sauls-August. File picture
Helen Sauls-August. File picture
Image: Zolile Menzelwa

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane will deliver his first state of the province address at a much leaner affair without the usual pomp and ceremony.

The budget for the event has been reduced from R5m to R700,000, legislature speaker Helen Sauls-August announced on Thursday.

She said that having it outside of the legislature had proved to be a costly exercise and had to be reviewed in the national spirit of cost-cutting.

Sauls-August announced that official openings of the legislature would no longer be held outside of the chamber and the number of guests would be reduced.

“The number of guests attending the official opening is reduced from 1,200 to 650 guests [and] although there will still be catering for guests, it will be reduced from a three-course meal into a finger lunch for everyone,” she said.

“The budget for this year has been reduced to between R700,000 and R800,000.

“The legislature will make an estimated savings of R2.5m annually, spanning to an estimated saving of R12.5m over the five-year period.”

Mabuyane said it was a good decision for the people of the province.

In another move, there will be no traditional praise singer at the state of the nation address (Sona) in parliament next week.

And the junior guard and civil guard of honour are also out of the window.

There will‚ however‚ be eminent persons invited from provinces.

These are some of the changes that have been introduced ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address‚ to take place on Thursday.

The changes to how the national legislature hosts the Sona‚ which also marks the official opening of parliament‚ were announced on Thursday by National Assembly deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

Tsenoli said‚ as was the case with the Sona in February‚ there would be no state-sponsored dinner for MPs and other VIPs. –