Learn from SOPA

Mark Kleinschmidt, Ward 60 councillor

I was invited by Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez to the debate section (day two) of the State of the Province Address (SOPA), held at the Rocklands civic centre in Mitchell’s Plain, convened by the Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Masizole Mnqasela, and the Deputy Speaker, Beverley Schäfer, both members of the DA.

Hats off to the provincial legislature for hosting the SOPA for the first time outside the Parliament building in Cape Town.

Unlike the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the atmosphere was calm and sedate. The debates were civil and condolences in respect of the late 8-year old Tazne van Wyk, were shared by all members of the various parties in the provincial legislature.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker had a few reprimands to resolve and a handful of unparliamentary utterances were made during the sitting. Nothing was said to incense or elicit violent reactions.

The National Assembly should take a leaf from the provincial legislature’s management and general ambiance and civility at its meetings.

It was history in the making that the SOPA was held for the very first time away from the provincial legislature buildings in the Rocklands civic centre in Mitchell’s Plain. Kudos to the Rocklands Civic Centre which also played host to the launch of the United Democratic Front on 20 August 1983.

Although the opposition parties objected to the initiative and choice of venue, the majority of attendees and Mitchell’s Plain residents were extremely enthralled.

Hats off to Western Cape Provincial Parliament for hosting a well organised SOPA.

We can rest assured that the Western Cape residents are in excellent hands, and can be proud of the very capable Premier Alan Winde and his competent cabinet.

We wish Premier Winde and his cabinet well in all their endeavours in ensuring equitable governance in the Western Cape and upholding its mantra of “a better life for all”.