Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen MP said replies to questions he submitted immediately after the State of the Nation Address (SONA), revealed that 2017 SONA cost reached R11 million.
The DA Chief Whip claim contradicts the Secretary to Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana’s remark about a R4 million budget for the SONA event.
According to Steenhuisen, the replies were for written questions directed to the Ministers of Police and Public Works. The replies showed that the Police and Public Works department respectively spent a further R4.085 million and R2.7 million
“Adding the R204 153.60 spent on deploying 441 members of the South African National Defence Force ‘to maintain law and order during the opening of Parliament’, reveals that this year’s SONA cost at least R10 989 188.60.
“This eye-watering amount could have been better spent on initiatives to create jobs, provide skills and training or on education for young South Africans,” stated Steenhuisen.
Reacting to Steenhuisen’s claims, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa rejected the allegations that it spent over R11 million in organizing and staging the SONA event.
Parliament upheld that Steenhuisen’s arrived at his claims via one-sided and misleading selective analysis.
“Premier annual events held in Cape Town like State of the Nation address (SONA) pump millions of rands into the economy of the City of Cape Town and the Province of the Western Cape, a fact that is regrettably often not acknowledged by critics of Parliament.
“A factual study in this regard is being conducted to expose the actual statistical economic impact including tourism, economic development and job creation,” Parliament stated.
Also, Parliament related that it made a commitment some years ago to progressively reduce expenditure on SONA through more prudent management.
Adding that it reached a R4m mark in 2017, Parliament affirmed that it is confident the amount would decrease when all bills are paid and everything reconciled
“Parliament has ensured that high quality and delivery standards of this spectacle event in its corporate events calendar are maintained and improved,” SA Parliament proclaimed.