Western Cape legislature ditches plans to have state of the province address in Laingsburg

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Western Cape legislature ditches plans to have state of the province address in Laingsburg
Western Cape legislature ditches plans to have state of the province address in Laingsburg

Africa-Press – South-Africa. The Western Cape’s 2023 State of the Province Address (SOPA) will be held in the provincial legislature in Cape Town, in line with the instructions of newly elected Speaker Daylin Mitchell.

Initially, embattled former speaker Masizole Mnqasela planned to have the SOPA in the Central Karoo town of Laingsburg.

The DA ha since terminated Mnqasela’s membership.

According to provincial legislature spokesperson James Retief, a small team visited Laingsburg on 28 November last year to assess logistical requirements and find suitable venues and local service providers.

“No further arrangements, contracting with potential service providers or commitments to expenditure have been made,” Retief added.

After the election of Mitchell, Retief said, there was an instruction to have the SOPA in Cape Town instead.

Mitchell declined to comment.

Mnqasela is at the centre of allegations of extravagant spending and is under investigation by the Hawks, the provincial parliament caucus, the DA’s federal legal commission (FLC) and the DA caucus in the province.

He is challenging the termination of his membership in court. In court papers that Mnqasela filed last year, he said he would have finalised the extensive arrangements for the opening of the provincial parliament and the SOPA by Premier Alan Winde.

“I must point out that I have initiated the Thetha Nathi programme, which is designed to encourage broader participation of all communities and persons in the work of the provincial parliament.

“This includes convening SOPA in far-flung communities, [where people] do not ordinarily see themselves as being part of this provincial parliament,” his court papers read.

Mnqasela said he had approved Laingsburg as the host community for the SOPA. He alleges that at the time, the premier advised that he did not agree with that choice.

“In the circumstances, it is exceedingly likely that the new speaker would abandon my Thetha Nathi project and simply go along with the premier, thus depriving the communities of Laingsburg and the Central Karoo of the financial and policy benefits of bringing the provincial parliament to them,” he said.

Asked for comment, Winde’s office said: “Judge Matthew Francis dismissed Mr Mnqasela’s application to the court with costs on Thursday, 15 December and the premier’s office will therefore not be commenting further on the matter.

The SOPA is scheduled to proceed in the provincial legislature on 16 February.

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