Former president Jacob Zuma invited to attend KZN SOPA
Speaker Nontembeko Boyce confirmed that former president Jacob Zuma was among the guests who had been invited to attend both the opening of the legislature and the Sopa.
Zuma arrived back in the country on Saturday after undergoing medical treatment in Cuba. He was welcomed back by scores of supporters at OR Tambo International Airport.
Boyce said that the two events would be held at the Pietermaritzburg Royal Showgrounds due to space constraints and renovations at the legislature precinct, although the construction of the new government precinct was now back on the agenda.
Boyce and her deputy, Mluleki Ndobe, said that the two events were expected to draw 1200 people.
In previous years the events have seen as many as 2800 guests, with this year’s significantly lower number of guests representing almost R1m in cost savings, said Boyce.
“We get really concerned when costs escalate, and all avenues and interventions will be the point this year to reduce costs. We are proud that this year we’ll be able to cut costs by nearly close to R1m for the opening of the legislature by reducing the number of people invited to attend both events,” she said.
“The office of the premier is busy compiling the figures for the SOPA, and we’re confident that there will be major savings on their side. We will have saved even more had we hosted the event at the legislature complex, which proved impossible as a result of the renovations,” Boyce said.
She added that among other high-profile guests who were expected to attend both events were Zuma, King Goodwill Zwelithini, speakers and deputy speakers of other provincial legislatures, members of Parliament, diplomats, religious leaders, members of the royal household, mayors, councillors and community leaders.
"All parties have been informed of Zuma’s invitation,” said Boyce.