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MPs mull use of community halls for sittings

Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Mar 5, 2022

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Cape Town - Parliament has extended its scope of looking for alternative venues after it added the use of community halls as part of the venues to be used for sittings.

MPs in the joint standing committee on the financial management of Parliament agreed yesterday to join the chief whips forum later in March to discuss alternative venues for sittings.

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ANC MP Bheki Radebe said they also need to invite the South African National Heritage Council as it was an important stakeholder on the future of parliament.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said following their meeting early this week, they decided to add the use of community halls as options.

She told the programming committee there were seven options that were given to them by the parliamentary staff looking at alternative venues and they include the City Hall, the Cape Town International Convention Centre, universities and community halls.

But Majodina said they wanted access to the Old Assembly Chamber because the preliminary report found it was not adversely affected by the fire and could be used as it takes more than 250 MPs.

She said three of the halls that have been identified were in the Parliamentary villages, where MPs stay during sessions of parliament. The villages are in Acacia Park, Pelican Park and Laboria Park in Cape Town.

Majodina said they will also increase the number of MPs who sit in the Good Hope Chamber in the parliamentary precinct from 70 to over 100.

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“We said the sooner we get access to the building of Parliament (the better), especially in the Old Assembly Chamber because we can take more than 250 people. The extent of the damage that was caused by the fire, the preliminary report was saying it was not adversely affected by the fire, but we know we need a proper report from engineers on how far we can go in utilising the Old Assembly Chamber,” said Majodina.

She said the three community halls in the parliamentary villages were an option.

She said they were also looking at other community halls around the Cape Flats.

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Majodina said at the next meeting on March 23 they need to get the short to medium and long-term solutions on the venues for parliamentary sittings.

“When it comes to the cost we said the report must have a clear cost analysis that says before Covid, we had so many offices, when our structure was still intact. During Covid, this is how we worked and what the financial implications were,” she said.

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