President Cyril Ramaphosa (Netwerk24, Adrian de Ko
President Cyril Ramaphosa (Netwerk24, Adrian de Kock)
  • The February 2020 State Of the Nation (SONA) will likely be the cheapest in some time.
  • Its budget has been cut by R500,000 from the last SONA.
  • Various cost-cutting measures were introduced last year, including a “drastic reduction” in the event marketing and advertising budget. 
  • For more stories, go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2020 State of the Nation address could be the cheapest in a number of years. 

The budget for SONA 2020 is R2.1m, but the acting secretary to Parliament, Baby Tyawa, said last week she expected the cost would be less. A year ago, the budget was R2.5 million - a 47% decrease from 2018 - but only R1.6 million was spent.

It will be the second in this financial year since the June address that was preceded by the 2019 Elections. The budget for the June SONA was R2.6 million. 

Various cost-cutting measures were introduced last year, including a “drastic reduction” in the event marketing and advertising budget. Also, junior and civil guard are no longer attending, and fewer “eminent persons” from provinces were invited.

These people are usually selected from provinces on the basis of their outstanding achievements in their respective fields. 

The legislature also chose not to host a competition where nine lucky winners of national radio competitions attend the gathering. 

Last year, National assembly speaker Thandi Modise said the legislature has taken appropriate cost-cutting measures to reduce the financial burden of the event. 

“We are mindful of this ceremony taking place against the backdrop of a recent slump in our economy in the first three months of 2019, which Stats SA observed is the biggest quarterly fall in economic activity since the first quarter of 2009,” Modise said at the time. 

SONA budgets have seen a steady decline since 2015 when Parliament first chose to cancel the then usual banquet at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The 2015 SONA cost R3.1 million, against a budget of R4.1 million; the 2016 SONA came in at R2 million compared to a budget of R3.9 million, and the 2017 SONA had a price tag of R2.3 million compared to a budget of R4 million.

In 2018, a massive R4.7 million was budgeted for SONA, but only R1.9 million was spent.

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