SOPA to be held in Rocklands civic centre

Rocklands civic centres roof is being replaced ahead of Premier Alan Windes State of the Province Address, on Thursday February 20.

Mitchell’s Plain residents will make up the majority of guests attending the historic State of the Province address (SOPA) at Rocklands civic centre on Thursday February 20.

This is the first time the address will not be delivered at the provincial legislature building in Cape Town central business district (CBD).

Speaker Masizole Mnqasela told the Plainsman on Monday February 11 that members of civil society and businesses would be allowed to attend by invitation only.

“Even though the address is for the Western Cape at large, most of the invited organisations come from Mitchell’s Plain.

“The Rocklands civic centre has been chosen as the venue for this year’s opening and SOPA because it is situated in one of the largest suburbs in the province, and in South Africa,” he said.

According to a statement issued by the provincial legislature, Mitchell’s Plain reflects many of the “burning issues” residents across the province grapple with on a daily basis.

The Western Cape provincial parliament (WCPP) public galleries, in Wale Street, can only accommodate 98 people. About 500 guests, including representatives of local organisations were invited to attend next Thursday.

The allocation of guests to the political parties has increased and an additional allocation has been made for the five smaller political parties.

A hundred invitations have been reserved for members of the public. Of these, 60 will go to residents and representatives of organisations and the remaining 40 to residents from surrounding areas.

According to the statement the hosting of the event at a remote location had bumped up the expenditure. The venue is available at no cost and the bulk of the R626 000 budget has been allocated to sound and digital set-up.

This set-up allows for the broadcasting of the event online, at a public viewing area near the venue and on television to ensure more citizens are able to access the information being shared and the important debates taking place.

Various standing committees will also be conducting oversight meetings and public hearings in the greater Mitchell’s Plain area, in the lead-up to the opening and SOPA.

This is being done in order for the members of the WCPP to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing this community and to be able to raise these issues with Mr Winde and his executive.

These standing committees will then oversee the addressing of these issues by the provincial government and, if and where necessary, demand feedback from the members of the executive on matters that have not been addressed.

He told the Plainsman that anyone could attend the debate following Mr Winde’s speech, on Friday February 21. The civic centre can seat 500 people and anyone wanting to attend would have to bring along proof of identity with them.

Mr Mnqasela said it was best for representatives of the different sectors to attend the speech and the debate so they could report back to their constituents.

The public cannot participate in the debate but they can talk to their members of parliament, who could raise their concerns and ensure Mr Winde answered questions.

The City of Cape Town is replacing the leaking asbestos roof of Rocklands civic centre, to ensure it is ready for the State of the Province Address on Thursday.

The centre has been closed since Thursday January 30 for work that was pencilled in for the current financial year, along with a number of other City facilities that require similar work to be carried out.

As a result, no bookings can be accommodated until Friday February 28.

The City said its Recreation and Parks Department had engaged with all users affected by the closure and offered to make alternative arrangements at other City facilities, free of charge.

An ongoing early childhood development (ECD) programme and events, which were scheduled to take place last weekend were successfully relocated.

The Moravian Church Valentine’s Ball will now happen at Westridge civic centre on Friday February 14.

For more information contact Diane.Haupt@capetown.gov.za