Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

MPs to discuss report on Parliament’s relocation to Tshwane

The EFF has long argued that the relocation of Parliament to 'a central space' will save government money.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is still pushing the agenda to have the National Assembly moved to Gauteng.

Earlier this year, a fire at Parliament left the Old and the New Assembly buildings gutted, which reignited calls for relocation to the City of Tshwane.

ALSO READ: Parliament fire: Rebuilding National Assembly to cost over R1bn

The EFF has long argued that the relocation of Parliament to “a central space” will save government money.

The party also believes that the relocation would enhance democratic participation from the public as well as harness accountability and oversight.

Report on relocation

On Thursday, EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi raised the issue of relocation to National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula during the Programme Committee meeting since the party has already submitted a private member’s Bill on the matter.

“The former Speaker appointed a company to conduct a study on the feasibility of relocation of Parliament to Tshwane…. This was consensus among parties. Then we were later told that Pamoja Capital Group conducted the study and handed over the report in January 2022.

“Three months later, we were informed that we can’t have the report so we have since written to Speaker to request the same report in order for us to continue with our proposed Bill,” she said.

Mkhaliphi questioned why the report was never released, but Mapisa-Nqakula deferred the matter to the chief whips forum meeting, scheduled for next Wednesday.

READ MORE: EFF’s renewed call for parliament removal a ‘massive’ waste of money, says expert

“I am aware that there was this study that was conducted. The Minister of Public Works [Patricia de Lille] has been demanding the same report for purposes of presenting the matter to Cabinet so that they deal with the issues around the financial implications,” the Speaker responded.

“I think maybe we should deal with socio-economic impact study on the relocation… maybe find time next week to be presented with the report and for someone to talk to the issues only then it will be circulated. So please allow us to discuss the matter at the chief whips’ [meeting] and then we can get a report afterwards,” she added.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu asked for the party to have access to the report ahead of the meeting so “by the time we meet we have a clear understanding of do we proceed moving forward”, which Mapisa-Nqakula acceded to.

R7 billion cost

This is not the first time the EFF has suggested the idea of moving Parliament.

In February 2020, Shivambu raised the matter during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) debate and questioned why Parliament could not be relocated to Tshwane, saying the National Assembly was in Cape Town “because of a colonial pact”.

The ANC had first made the suggestion to move Parliament in the 1990s, however, it was knocked down then, as the cost would have been R237 million.

According to a 2016 report, the cost to move Parliament Could amount to R7 billion, but it also expected to save the country between R500 million and R750 million a year in the future.

A 2019 study also found that the move would also mean uprooting 1 400 parliamentary staff and their families.

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