Business boom ahead of SONA

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cape Town – Businesses around the Parliamentary precinct have been profiting throughout this week, ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to be delivered by President Jacob Zuma tonight.

As workers around the Parliamentary precinct tied loose ends in preparation for the red carpet to be rolled-out for Zuma ahead of the annual speech, businessmen along Plein Street said they will be smiling all the way to the bank as the event has brought them more customers.

Restaurant owners – from curry outlets to fish and chips joints – said the revenues had more than doubled throughout the week as Cape Town once again opened its doors to politicians, businessmen and journalists who descended on the City to be part of the event.

This year’s SONA will mark 20 years of democracy – and the last speech of Zuma’s current five year administration.

Ahmed Shafik, one of the businessmen, said he had extended his working hours to serve more empty bellies.

“This time of the year, business is just good. We usually extend even our business hours at this time because the demand is just high.

“On a normal day, I close my shop at 4pm, but during this time I open until 7pm,” he said.

Another businessman, Nainesh Pillay said: “I always look forward to this period of year because this is the most profitable time and being a small businessman, this is good for business,” he said.

Several people were also seen selling white t-shirts with the face of the late former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mandela died in December last year, aged 95.

Expectations of the speech on Thursday range from jobs, the National Development Plan to infrastructure development and housing delivery.

Security guard Andile Mgijima said he would like the President to focus explaining how the NDP would make South Africa a better place in years to come.

“We know now that there is this plan - but I hope he can explain as to how it will affect all of us in a positive way. I also want to hear how employment has been created in the past year because to many of us, that is important.”

In the Parliamentary precinct, workers are putting final touches along Parliament Street, along the route where a red carpet will be rolled-out for President Zuma, dignitaries and other guests, who will be part of the event. –