The African National Congress (ANC) says there is no need to move the Nation Assembly to Gauteng after the fire at Parliament. This comes after calls to relocate Parliament from opposition parties.
The ANC caucus held a virtual meeting on Tuesday evening, where the party discussed a number of matters – including the fire that broke out in Parliament on Sunday.
In a statement, the ANC said Parliament was under attack and called on law enforcement agencies to investigate whether the fire was planned.
The party also indicated that its parliamentary work won’t be deterred by the “unfortunate incident”.
It further rejected Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’s offer to use alternative venues in the city to host this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“The ANC caucus has agreed that our focus as the ANC is to ensure we wrestle out between those who are recommending the use of the facilities of the City of Cape Town and those who are pushing for the permanent relocation of Parliament to Tshwane,” the office of ANC’s chief whip, Pemmy Majodina, said.
“Caucus noted the highly opportunistic manner camouflaged as an act of generosity on the part of the DA-led Western Cape government to lobby for hosting Sona as a political ploy, and that other avenues must be explored,” it added.
On Monday, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula assured the public that the 2022 Sona, budget speech, and other parliamentary programmes will continue as planned.
Hill-Lewis had suggested that the City of Cape Town’s Council Chamber be used for National Assembly sittings, while the Grand Parade and City Hall would be available to host Sona.
The EFF insisted that the money that will be allocated for repairs to the building should be spent on the relocation instead.
“If there is any appetite to curb wasteful government expenditure and cut all ties related to the colonial framework established by those who conquered this nation, this fire must serve as an opportunity to permanently relocate Parliament to Gauteng. This will allow government work to be synchronised,” the party said in a statement.
This is not the first time the EFF has suggested the idea of moving Parliament.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, in a tweet, said that the relocation of Parliament would make sense, “financially and politically”.
However, he lambasted those celebrating the building being damaged by fire.
According to a 2016 report, the cost to move Parliament would amount to R7 billion.
BusinessTech also previously reported that 1,400 parliamentary staff and their families would be impacted by the relocation.
The idea of Parliament’s relocation to the country’s capital city dates back to the 1990s.