Opening of Parliament to cost taxpayers R4,7m_1

The opening of parliament next week will, together with the event held last year after the May national elections, cost the South African taxpayers R7,3 million, speaker Thandi Modise said on Thursday

Modise told a briefing of the parliamentary press corps that pomp and ceremony accompanying president Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address next week had been reduced in order to contain costs.

She said there would be no junior or civil guard of honour and the advertising and branding budget for the event had been scaled back.

However, Ramaphosa’s procession will still be lead by a full military parade, and the traditional 21-gun salute and military fly-over have also been retained as part of the programme.

The state of the nation address held in June last year after the national elections cost R2,6 million, leaving the cost estimate for next week’s event at R4,7 million.

Ramaphosa came to power in February 2018 and faces pressure to deal with the country’s electricity crisis, record unemployment, a stalled economy and dire lack of direct investment.

He will be addressing the nation a fortnight after troubled power utility Eskom conceded that it would have to implement loadshedding for the next 18 months.