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Johannesburg - The question of whether Parliament should be relocated to Pretoria should be a matter for public debate, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said on Thursday.
“... We, as the city, are not in a position to express a canvassed view about the location of Parliament, as we believe that the seat of the national legislature, like the name of the capital city, should be a matter of public national debate,” he said in a statement.
Earlier, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said that the government had no firm position on the matter.
This was after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said during his medium-term budget speech on Wednesday that parliamentary costs, including those of commuting between Parliament, in Cape Town, and Pretoria, needed to be reduced.
Pretoria is the country's administrative capital, while Cape Town is the legislative capital.
Ramokgopa said the city understood the need for a review of the current Cape Town-Tshwane arrangement. If Parliament were to relocate, this would present a number of opportunities for the city.
Earlier, Chabane suggested that Gordhan's concern about the exorbitant costs of moving ministers and departmental delegations between the two cities should not be seen as a firm decision to relocate the legislature.
“We move a huge chunk of administration from time-to-time, to come and attend to issues in Cape Town,” Chabane said.
“What the statement (from Gordhan) says is that we need to find the ways to reduce the number of officials we bring down.”
He said it should be noted that a decision to move Parliament was not one to be made by the executive, but by the legislature itself.