Home South African EFF pushes for relocation of Parliament from Cape Town to Tshwane

EFF pushes for relocation of Parliament from Cape Town to Tshwane

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If things go according to the EFF’s wishes, the seat of Parliament will be relocated from Cape Town to its administrative seat in Tshwane.

EFF leader Julius Malema. File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

IF THINGS go according to the EFF’s wishes, the seat of Parliament will be relocated from Cape Town to its administrative seat in Tshwane.

This emerged in the government gazette where EFF leader Julius Malema gave notice to table a private member’s bill to provide for the relocation of the national legislature.

This comes as the Old Assembly and the New National Assembly buildings that were damaged by fire earlier this year are still to be restored.

According to the notice, Malema intends to introduce the Relocation of Parliament Bill during the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year.

Malema said the current location of Parliament created several problems for MPs, the Cabinet, the government and officials from organs of state and the broader society who wished to participate in legislative and oversight functions performed by the institution.

He said Parliament was located in the farthest province, making it inaccessible to the majority of South Africans, including MPs, who have to spend a significant amount of time travelling to and from Parliament.

“As a result, participation in parliamentary programmes is limited to individuals and institutions with financial resources, and excluding those unable to travel to Cape Town.”

Malema said Parliament and the government spent a lot of money on travel and lodging for MPs, the Cabinet and officials, in order to keep colonial agreements that separated administrative and legislative capitals in two cities by “racist colonisers” who excluded the majority of black people.

The EFF has been pushing for the seat of Parliament to be moved for several years.

After the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the party argued that Pretoria was preferable as an interim seat of Parliament while it was being figured out what would happen to Cape Town, which was then the epicentre of the pandemic.

The EFF had argued that it was an opportune time to relocate to Gauteng, but its proposal did not fly.

The relocation of Parliament has been on the radar from as far back as 2016 when former president Jacob Zuma said the government could save billions if it did not have to fly and accommodate government officials and politicians between the two capitals.

In May 2018, former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete announced that service provider Pamoja (Pty) Ltd had been appointed to conduct a six-month socio-economic and impact study.

However, the MPs heard that Mpahlwa consultants were employed in 2004 and estimated a relocation price tag of R2.6 billion.

In April 2019, former public works minister Thulas Nxesi indicated that his then department had identified possible construction sites for the relocation of Parliament to Pretoria.

In a written response to a parliamentary question from the EFF’s Leigh-Ann Mathys, who asked about the current status of the possibility of moving Parliament, Nxesi said the construction sites could not be confirmed until the Secretary to Parliament signed off the accommodation requirements for the national legislature.

“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,” he said.

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