Sites identified for potential Parliament move to Tshwane

2019-04-26 16:05
Parliament 2018. (Photo by Gallo Images, Netwerk24, Jaco Marais)

Parliament 2018. (Photo by Gallo Images, Netwerk24, Jaco Marais)

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Public Works Minister Thula Nxesi says "possible construction sites in Tshwane have been identified" for a suggested plan to move Parliament to Tshwane, but added that the responsibility for the move still lies with Parliament itself.

Nxesi was replying to a parliamentary question posed by EFF MP and treasurer general Leigh-Ann Mathys, who wanted to know "the current status on the possibility of moving Parliament to Pretoria".

Though construction sites in Tshwane have already been identified, they cannot be confirmed "until such time that Parliament accommodation requirements have been signed off by the secretary to Parliament", said Nxesi.

"For this to happen, Parliament must give guidance and take the decision to move the Parliamentary Precinct away from Cape Town and also legally pronounce Tshwane as the seat of Parliament, by way of proposing a constitutional amendment on Tshwane/Pretoria as the new Legislative Capital of the Republic of South Africa."

Section 42(6) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa reads: "The seat of Parliament is Cape Town, but an Act of Parliament enacted in accordance with section 76(1) and (5) may determine that the seat of Parliament is elsewhere."

'Big expenditure item'

Former president Jacob Zuma is credited as having reinvigorated the idea to move the national legislature to the country's administrative capital in his 2016 State of the Nation Address.

Zuma said that a "big expenditure item that we would like to persuade Parliament to consider is the maintenance of two capitals, Pretoria as the administrative one and Cape Town as the legislative capital".

It was costly for Cabinet to spread its work over the two capitals, the former president said at the time.

Fin24 reported that, in February 2016, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and Nomura economist Peter Attard Montalto said moving Parliament from Cape Town to Pretoria would cost R7bn, but could bring savings of around R500m to R750m a year.

Nxesi, in his parliamentary reply, stated that "the project involves mainly the production of a comprehensive feasibility study report relating to the socio-economic impacts of Parliament remaining in Cape Town versus it relocating to Pretoria and project due diligence". 

Job for the 6th Parliament after elections

Parliament's decision regarding a constitutional amendment and pronouncement of Tshwane as the legislative capital would be informed by this comprehensive feasibility study.

News24 previously reported that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, in 2018, said that an external service provider had been appointed to look into the feasibility of moving Parliament to Pretoria.

At the time, Mbete stated that, following the "six-month socio-economic and impact study" conducted by Pamoja PTY LTD, "...we will hand over [this matter] to the 6th Parliament".

This means that the results of the study and its feasibility or non-feasibility will be looked at only after the May 8 general elections by the newly-elected Parliament.

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