’Don’t waste money repairing burnt Parliament, just move it to Mamelodi’
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Pretoria – Several civil rights group, political formations and individuals in Mamelodi are pushing for Parliament to be moved to the historic township, and their bid has been heightened by the fire which engulfed the National Assembly building in Cape Town.
“Following the developments in Cape Town whereby the building housing the Parliament of South Afrika burnt, different stakeholders met in Mamelodi with interest to have Mamelodi as an alternative place to house Parliament,” said Vusi Masemola, Mamelodi zonal secretary of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco).
Masemola said last week that 12 different stakeholders, including Sanco, the Mamelodi Liquor Association, ANC Youth League, Mamelodi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Macoci), Mamelodi Inter-denominational Evangelical Ministers Fraternal (MIEMF), Cosas, Mamelodi Community Policing Forum, the 4 Plus 1 Taxi Association, Mamelodi Zion Ministries and Youth Association, Contralesa, the Solomon Mahlangu Foundation and Thandanani Drop-in Centre, and some “prominent” individuals met in Mamelodi and cemented the resolution.
“These organisations resolved on three issues … that there was need to have Mamelodi declare its interest to have the Parliament of South Africa being housed in this historic township; and that a letter be written to the Speaker of Parliament indicating the interest of the people of Mamelodi to have Parliament be built in their township,” he said.
The Mamelodi organisations and individuals are now requesting an audience with the Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
According to Masemola, the groups also resolved that Sanco will represent the interest of all the stakeholders and organisations that met last week in championing the relocation of Parliament from Cape Town to Tshwane.
“Having the Parliament in Mamelodi will go a long way in transforming the economic fortunes of this historic township and work towards building another city within the City of Tshwane. Mamelodi is a liberation heritage route,” said Masemola.
The South African National Heritage Resource Agency (Sahra) has indicated that it could take up to five years to complete repairs to Parliament.
That’s according to Ben Maswinga, the Sahra manager of the built environment unit, whose remarks come after a devastating fire last week gutted both the Old Assembly and the National Assembly buildings.
In 2016, Fort Klapperkop was identified by the City of Tshwane as a suitable site for Parliament, should the proposal to relocate it from Cape Town to Pretoria see the light of day.
The then mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said the capital city was ready to be the new home for Parliament and had already identified land on which to construct a monumental legislative building.