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Parly cans gala dinner, finger foods as Sona budget cut

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says that the current economic conditions have forced Parliament to cut back on spending.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa and first lady Tshepo Ramaphosa outside Parliament before the State of the Nation Address on 16 February 2018. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - No more glitzy gala dinners and finger food for guests is the message from Parliament as it prepares to host the State of the Nation Address (Sona) next week.

Briefing the media on Parliament’s state of readiness on Wednesday, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says that the current economic conditions have forced Parliament to cut back on spending.

Parliament has cut the budget for next week’s State of the Nation Address by 47% in comparison to last year’s address.

From the budgeted R4.7 million in 2018, the actual expenditure came down to R1.9 million.

For this year’s event, Parliament has budgeted R2.5 million and is confident that the actual expenditure will be much lower.

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise says that Parliament has been consistent in cutting the Sona budget.

"We have also cut down on the cocktail eateries we provide while people wait for Sona to start."

Acting secretary of Parliament Baby Tyawa says that more items were cut this time around.

"I think the biggest thing we've cut down on is the branding of poles. Remember we used to brand the airport, Strand Street, Adderley Street... and if you cut down on those flags, you cut out close to a million rand."