State of Nation address to cost R2m less

12 February 2014

This year’s State of the Nation address will cost R2-million less than it did last year, Parliament’s presiding officers announced on Tuesday.

The event, during which President Jacob Zuma is expected to outline the progress made by his administration over the past five years and indicated the government’s service delivery plans for the coming year, will take place in Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

Briefing journalists on Tuesday, Parliament’s presiding officers said they were ready to host Zuma and all invited guests on Thursday.

Baby Tyawa, the acting secretary of Parliament, said that while this year’s event would be bigger in that the two houses of Parliament had separate programmes for commemorating 20 years of democracy, the budget for all the activities around the State of Nation address including a post-address presidential banquet – stood at R5.7-million.

She said this year’s banquet would be held at the Cape Town Convention Centre, meaning millions or rands will be saved compared to last year, when they had erected a marquee tent and bussed all the guests to the venue.

Tyawa said they had noted Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s call for the administration to cut expenditure and curb abuse of taxpayer’s funds.

20 years of a democratic Parliament

Meanwhile, Mninwa Mahlangu, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), said that Parliament would use Thursday’s State of the Nation address to see how it could enhance its oversight programme and how to best involve members of the public in the coming year.

When President Zuma steps up to deliver his last State of the Nation address of the current administration, the two houses of Parliament – the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the National Assembly (NA) – will also reflect on how they have fared in a democratic South Africa over the past 20 years.

Mahlangu said this year’s State of the Nation address would also be a bittersweet event, as it will be the first that former president Nelson Mandela, who passed away in December, is not around to witness.

Mahlangu added that since 2014 was also an election year, a second State of the Nation address would take place after the new President has been inaugurated.

Thursday’s address will be broadcast live in all official languages on TV and radio stations from 7pm.

There will be a Parliamentary debate on the address on 18 and 19 February, followed by Zuma’s reply to the debate on 20 February.

The debate will be streamed live on Parliament’s website and its YouTube channel, and broadcast on the Parliamentary DSTV TV channel.