Move parliament to Gauteng —MP

2012-05-30 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Senior Gauteng ANC MP Vincent Smith made a strong plea in parliament yesterday for the institution to be moved to Gauteng, but the idea is not part of the current ANC policy.

Smith, a seasoned and respected MP from Eldorado Park outside Johannesburg, cited cost and accessibility issues in his speech, which drew loud cheers from the ANC benches.

He said it was a massive waste of money for officials to fly to Cape Town repeatedly to report to Parliament in meetings that lasted only four hours.

Smith believes that having Cape Town as the seat of Parliament, as Bloemfontein is the seat of the appeal court, is an outdated apartheid notion. Parliament must be near the seat of government (Pretoria), he said.

He added that the location of parliament in the country’s southernmost corner made it inaccessible to poor people.

However, other ANC speakers and the speaker, Max Sisulu, ignored Smith. IFP chief whip Koos van der Merwe then asked what the ANC’s policy is regarding the matter.

Inquiries by sister paper Beeld showed Smith was possibly on a solo flight.

Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu’s Western Cape secretary, said Smith “was just being silly” to raise the matter. “It has been brought up so many times and the [internal ANC] decision has been that parliament would remain in the Western Cape.

Moloto Mothapo, spokesperson for the ANC’s parliamentary chief whip, said in response to an inquiry that moving the parliament to Gauteng was definitely not ANC policy.

“The Constitution specifies the seat of parliament.

“That does not, however, mean that any MP, ANC member or a member of the public may not raise the issue.” Mothapo said that as far as he knew, relocating parliament had never been discussed in the parliamentary caucus.

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