Political party garb banned at opening

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Members of the public who will attend today's official opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature by the Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, have been warned not to wear any political party regalia.

The opening takes place at the Olympia Hall, Agricultural Show Grounds.

Speaker Willies Mchunu said people wearing political party regalia would be barred from the venue because this was "not a political party" function.

"We request members of the public to behave as this event will be attended by high-profile guests, some whom are above party politics, like King Goodwill Zwelithini," said Mchunu.

He also clarified why the official opening was to be held outside the legislature complex.

"The present legislature, situated at Langalibalele complex, is inadequate as it only allows 120 guests in the public gallery. It does not comply with new statutory requirements for people with disabilities," Mchunu said.

He said there was a cabinet decision to build a new KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

Mchunu added that the legislature wanted as many people as possible to attend the official opening.

"This is in line with our programme of taking the legislature to the people," he said.

Five-hundred guests have been invited and more than 1500 members of the public are expected to attend.

The guests include high commissioners, ambassadors, consular corps, religious leaders, including the leadership of the Shembe Church, and organised business.

Among the high-profile guests invited are Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, chairman of the National Council of Provinces Mninwa Mahlangu, KwaZulu-Natal chairman of the House of Traditional Leaders Mangosuthu Buthelezi, president of the ANC Jacob Zuma, the SACP's Blade Nzimande and Cosatu's S'dumo Dlamini.

Security agencies have requested motorists and members of the public to use alternate routes, as the following roads will be temporarily closed:

Howick Road between Victoria Road and Gough Street will be closed completely between 9.30am and 11am; no parking will be allowed on Hyslop Road between Howick Road and Chatterton Road between 9.30am and 11am.