KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala shortly after taking the oath of office. File picture: MotshwarI Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal government has saved more than R2.5 million by holding the opening of the provincial parliament at the provincial parliament buildings instead of hiring a privately-owned venue for the event, said provincial Speaker Nontembeko Boyce.

For years it had been a tradition to use the privately-owned Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg for the annual event which is addressed by King Goodwill Zwelithini. 

Talking to Independent Media shortly before the king delivered his address on Thursday morning, Boyce said the parliament aimed to use the money it for the benefit of the province's people. 

“We are only having 120 guests because of the size of the venue. And remember that we [previously] had thousands of guests; including the public. 

“So we have cut down on transport, meals and the [cost of the] venue,” said Boyce. 

Among VIP guests invited to attend Thursday's opening was former president Jacob Zuma, who was accompanied by his wife Thobeka Mabhija. 

Boyce said another reason for changing the venue was that the legislature had already spent a huge amount of money on the same event at the beginning of the year. 

“We had spent more money because it was at the Royal Showgrounds and the guest list was bigger. 

“We just agreed to make it small(er) so that we save money,” she said.

Boyce said she did not have a definite figure for holding the event at the Royal Showgrounds. 

“There is a whole lot of areas where we are going to cut costs, but we are going to do a full media briefing on that immediately when we come back from the strategic planning,” she said.

Political Bureau