Cape Town-130213-Edwin Fabe puts up a banner in preparation for the opening of Parliament tomorrow. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town - Gridlock an be expected across Cape Town tonight as streets are closed due to the State of the Nation Address.

“We understand the serious inconvenience that the closure of roads imposes on people,” said Parliament spokesman Luzuko Jacobs.

“But we also support the view of the security forces to reopen them as quickly as possible.”

Most roads will be closed from 4pm ion Thursday.

Jacobs said the road closures were enforced not only for the security of the politicians and people attending the event, but also for the armed forces and others involved in the ceremony.

“We are asking people to assist and co-operate as they have done all these years,” he said. “In the past we have always received an admirable response.”

But Michael Bagraim, labour expert with the Cape Chamber of Commerce, said the week-long “dress rehearsal” was excessive. He pointed out that the road closures interfered with business in the city, particularly small businesses such as the flower sellers operating on Adderley Street.

“They should schedule it on a Saturday or Sunday and have only one practice session,” he said. “There’s nothing stopping them from doing that.”

Merle Lourens, spokeswoman for city traffic services, said that road users leaving the city during rush hour would definitely run into some congestion, but this would ease as the evening progressed.

She advised inner-city commuters to escape before rush hour if possible.

Mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater, Brett Herron encouraged people to make use of the MyCiTi bus service to avoid the traffic.

“The usual schedule is operating tomorrow,” he said.

However, he warned that there would be some minor delays and he advised commuters to avoid peak hours because MyCiTi buses were currently operating at capacity.

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Cape Argus