Due to the fire that gutted the National Assembly and Old Assembly buildings recently, Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that the sittings, including the Budget Speech scheduled for February, would take place in the Good Hope Chamber.
TO ENSURE that the business of the House is not interrupted, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that the 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.
Just over two weeks ago, Parliament was gutted in fierce flames which saw the National Assembly and Old Assembly buildings destroyed.
Alternative venues had since been sought as President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the State of the Nation address (Sona) on February 10 at the City Hall in Cape Town. The post-Sona debate and reply will be held at the same venue.
Mapisa-Nqakula on Monday afternoon led the Presiding Officers of the House at a meeting with chief whips of political parties to discuss alternative venues for official sittings of the National Assembly.
“After considering various alternative venues, the meeting took a decision that, beyond the Sona the 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.
“The Good Hope Chamber, historically utilised for the sittings of the Cape Legislative Assembly between 1854 and 1885, is one of the oldest meeting rooms of Parliament. It has essential technical capabilities and meets basic requirements for sittings of the House.
“It is one of the buildings of Parliament that has not been affected by the fire and has previously been used for National Assembly Mini-Plenaries. It has a seating capacity of 170 persons and permits 70 persons under Covid-19 social-distancing arrangements,” said Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.