President Jacob Zuma delivers his state of the nation address in Parliament on Thursday.  Picture: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma delivers his state of the nation address in Parliament on Thursday. Picture: GCIS

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma asked Parliament in his state of the nation address on Thursday evening to urgently address the question of SA’s having two capitals — an administrative capital in Pretoria and a legislative capital in Cape Town.

He said the executive had discussed the issue and had found the cost to be too high. It required Cabinet ministers to have two houses and two cars and involved frequent travel by government officials to attend parliamentary events. Mr Zuma said the matter would have to be reconsidered urgently to save costs.

This was one of a number of cost-cutting initiatives announced by Mr Zuma, who said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would announce further measures in his budget on February 24. The President conceded that revenue collections would be lower than previously expected and that SA seemed to be at risk of a credit ratings downgrade, which would make borrowing more expensive.

He said the government was committed to cutting wasteful expenditure but without compromising the core business of government, and without compromising social programmes.

 

Among the measures announced by the President were that overseas trips by government officials would be curtailed and delegations on these trips would be "greatly" reduced in size, and standardised. Further restrictions would be placed on government conferences, entertainment and social functions. The dinners held for stakeholders after ministers delivered their budget vote would no longer take place.

Mr Zuma said the executive management of the boards of state-owned entities and other state entities would be encouraged to adopt similar cost-cutting measures, and he appealed to premiers and mayors to implement them in provinces and cities as well.