Cape Town – The date has been set for the opening of the provincial parliament and the State of the Province Addresses (SOPA).
Western Cape legislature Speaker Masizole Mnqasela said that this year’s event would continue his commitment to take the provincial parliament closer to the people of the Western Cape.
SOPA will take place in the Velddrif Town Hall on Tuesday, February 15.
“After my election as Speaker in 2019, I made a commitment to take the Provincial Parliament closer to the people. Since then, we have held the 2020 and 2021 official openings and SOPA in the Cape Metro and the Overberg district, respectively.
“In continuing my commitment to taking the provincial parliament closer to the people of the Western Cape, I am pleased to announce that the 2022 official opening of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament and the Western Cape Premier’s SOPA will be taking place in Velddrif in the Bergrivier municipal area in the West Coast district,” he said.
The following day members of the Western Cape legislature will debate Premier Alan Winde’s SOPA in the same venue, and then the premier will reply to the debate that afternoon.
The event will be held in a hybrid format, with some honourable members and guests in the Velddrif Town Hall and the WCPP’s Chamber in Cape Town, while other members will participate in the proceedings virtually from their constituencies across the province.
As with the last year’s SOPA in Genadendal, all Covid-19-related regulations will be observed, including the wearing of masks at all times, sanitising and maintaining social distance, Mnqasela said.
The proceedings will be livestreamed on the WCPP’s website (wcpp.gov.za) and social media channels.
Winde welcomed the announcement on Wednesday stating that he is excited for his third SOPA to take place in one of the province’s communities.
“Parliament belongs to every citizen of this province, and so this important session, where I set out this government’s plans for the year ahead, should be accessible to more residents across our province.
“I would like to thank the community of Velddrif in the Bergrivier municipality for hosting us this year, and I look forward to engaging with you around the speech so that your views and your expectations for the year ahead are incorporated into our government’s plans,” Winde said.
“I also look forward to engaging with the opposition during the debate on the State of the Province Address, which will take place on 16 February. I hope to hear new and fresh ideas that will help move our province forward.”
Winde also reflected on last year’s SOPA, where he touched on how the Western Cape government would tackle the fight against Covid-19, focus on delivering life-saving vaccinations, and ensure an economic recovery that delivers the jobs.
He added that in focussing on these priorities, the province had to face major challenges – the devastating third wave last year which caused more loss, pain and heartache and also the economic knock Covid-19 dealt where restrictions cost livelihoods, hurt small businesses, and exacerbated poverty and inequality.
“On the other hand, we saw great courage and innovation across our province, in our government, and amongst our residents and our businesses… That is why our focus must now turn to fight the second pandemic of unemployment, which continues unabated,” Winde said.
“It needs to be fought with the same passion, courage and innovation so that we roll back poverty, hunger and crime in the Western Cape. This will be my top priority in the year ahead, and I look forward to reflecting on this in my speech.”