Cape Town – The South African government’s administrative capital should move from Pretoria to Cape Town and plans to move Parliament from the Mother City up north should be shelved, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said on Friday.
Delivering her State of the Province Address in Cape Town, Zille said President Jacob Zuma’s announcement that having one capital city, instead of two (Cape Town as the legislative capital and Pretoria as the adminstrative capital) would be a huge saving to the fiscus.
“I was amused that many people immediately assumed that this would mean moving Parliament from Cape Town. But if the President’s motive is genuinely to save money, it should be the other way around. The administrative capital should move to Cape Town.”
Zille said she had tasked her MECs for economic opportunities, transport and public works, and local government, environmental affairs and development planning to investigate and make a set of proposals on locating government administrative buildings and high density parliamentary residential accommodation available near the national legislature.
“This would combine the live and work philosophy in increased urban densities, enabling government to set the example of the new urban form we require,” she said.
“It would even make it possible for the government to sell the costly range of ministerial houses, and accommodate ministers in pleasant apartments on the upper floors of these high rise buildings, which would offer unparalleled 360 degree views of the City, the mountain and the sea.”
Zille said, as Premier of the province, she would be the first to move to such a high-rise building.
“This would release much valuable real estate for sale and defray the costs of building the government precinct, which could also be subverted by a build, operate and transfer model undertaken by the private sector,” she said.
“We would also save a fortune in security costs.”
Zille, the only premier of the only province in South Africa not under the control of the ruling African National Congress, challenged her counterparts in Gauteng to submit comparable proposals.
She said Zuma could then compare the costs of locating the country’s seat of government in each city.