The Free State Legislature will implement major budget cuts in the hosting of the upcoming State of the Province Address (Sopa), which will be taking place at the Fourth Raadsaal in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
According to the Speaker of the Legislature, Zanele Sifuba, this year’s event will cost about R500 000, which will be a fraction of the R2.5 million that was spent at the previous Sopa.
“We are taking a page out of the book of our National Parliament, who has drastically reduced its spending. We made sure that we take into consideration that we will be holding the second Sopa in one year. So we had to make sure that we reduce spending and bring the Sopa to the Raadsaal,” said Sifuba.
The purpose of the official first sitting of the Legislature is to allow Premier Sisi Ntombela to table the State of the Provincial Address for the financial period 2019/2020. The Sopa sets out key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead and the success experienced during the period under review.
According to Sifuba the budget cut will ensure that funds are available for more important services. “This time we will spend R505 745, so we are heeding the call from national government by trying by all means to contain the costs. The money will be better utilised for other public services,” she explained.
The event will be attended, among others, by mayors from around the provinces, international dignitaries and civil servants. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele