Opposition MPs push for Parliament’s relocation to Gauteng

Opposition MPs say the permanent relocation of Parliament to Gauteng can’t be ignored and should be at the top of the agenda when they return to kick off the parliamentary year.

Parts of the parliament precinct in Cape Town were left gutted after a fire on 2 January 2022. Picture: JP Smith/City of Cape Town

CAPE TOWN - Opposition MPs say the permanent relocation of Parliament to Gauteng can’t be ignored and should be at the top of the agenda when they return to kick off the parliamentary year.

The recent fire damage and the parliamentary programme will come under discussion when the National Assembly Programme Committee meets on Thursday.

Parliament is still taking stock of the recent fire damage estimated at over R1 billion but has already taken a decision to hold official sittings of the National Assembly in alternative venues within the precinct.

Repair work and the rebuilding of the National Assembly is expected to take up to five years.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh said the permanent relocation should be debated when MPs returned.

“It’s definitely something that has to be put on the agenda at an appropriate forum. But, certainly, this unfortunate incident calls for a wide debate on the seat of parliament. Also, there were proposals that I looked at probably 10 years ago.”

Parliament’s presiding officers and party chief whips have taken a decision that beyond the State of the Nation Address, sittings of the National Assembly, including the Budget Speech scheduled for February, must be retained within the precincts of Parliament, in the Good Hope Chamber.