By Libuseng Nyaka
The Speaker of the Free State Legislature Zanele Sifuba, has announced February 28 as the date of the State of Provincial Address (SOPA), which will take place at the University of Free State’s Vista campus.
According to legislature spokesperson and head of communication Life Mokone, Premier Sefora Ntombela is expected to table the province’s plans for the new financial year.
“The State of the Province address sets out key policy objectives and deliveries for the year ahead. It will also highlight some of the successful efforts by the government in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mokone said.
Mokone also announced other important dates such as the debate of the SOPA on March 3, at Fourth Raadsaal, which will be followed by the Premier‘s replies set for March 4 at the same venue.
Another important date will be the tabling of the budget on March 10, at Gariep Dam. The debate on the budget will be on March 22, at Fourth Raadsaal.
The announcement comes on the eve of the joint first sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces on Thursday this week where President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the State of the Nation Address at the city hall in Cape Town.
The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is called by the President in terms of Section 42(5) of the Constitution. It is a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament and one of the rare occasions that bring together the three arms of the State under one roof.
Announcing readiness of SONA which will be held at a different venue following the burning of parliament buildings, the Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula promised that all systems are in place.
Mapisa-Nqakula said a total number of 298 members of parliament will be seated while a limited number of 70 people will be on the gallery.
“We have two days left before State of Nation Address on the 10th of February, as many of you are aware the city hall has been declared as an extension of the parliamentary use. This decision was not taken lightly, but we are comforted in knowing it is at the city hall that the then president in waiting Mandela addressed nation after his release from prison.”