True cost of SONA now at R11m and counting - DA

2017-02-26 14:50

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Cape Town – The cost of the 2017 State of the Nation Address now stands at R11m, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday after receiving replies to written questions to various departments.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said he submitted the questions immediately after SONA on February 9.

Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana had announced the week before that around R4m had been budgeted for the event.

“However, replies to written questions to the ministers of Police and Public Works revealed that their departments spent a further R4.085m and R2.7m, respectively,” said Steenhuisen.

“The Department of State Security avoided answering the question, as is their habit, claiming that their enormous deployment to the event ‘came from the normal operational budget of the [State Security] Agency’.”

Steenhuisen said they would submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to get a “clear picture” of what State Security Agency resources were used and why.

He calculated that the total Sona cost now stood at just under R11m, factoring in R204 153.60 spent on deploying 441 members of the SA National Defence Force on the day.

“This eye-watering amount could have been better spent on initiatives to create jobs, provide skills and training or on education for young South Africans,” he said.

Read more on:    da  |  john steenhuisen  |  sona 2017

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