No report yet on feasibility study to relocate Parliament to Pretoria
Politics / 16 July 2019, 5:02pm / Mayibongwe Maqhina
Cape Town - Parliament was still to receive a report on the feasibility study to relocate the national legislature to Pretoria, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said on Tuesday.
"I understand a feasibility study was undertaken – we must still get the report. What we were concerned about was how and where this was done," Modise said while delivering her budget vote speech.
"This matter must still be followed up and we will report to the House," she said.
In May 2018, former Speaker Baleka Mbete announced that service provider Pamoja PTY LTD had been appointed to conduct a six-month socio-economic and impact study.
This was after former president Jacob Zuma said government could save billions if it did not have to fly and accommodate government officials and politicians from the country's administrative capital, Pretoria, to Cape Town, the legislative capital.
In April, then Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said in a written response to parliamentary question that Public Works Department had identified the possible construction sites for the relocation of Parliament to Pretoria.
Nxesi had said the construction sites could not be confirmed until the Secretary to Parliament signed off the accommodation requirements for the national legislature.
According to Modise, the current design of the parliamentary precinct was not conducive to their spatial needs.
"The precinct does not have enough venues to accommodate all committee sittings. We spend too much money renting venues outside Parliament."
She said the engagement with Public Works Department was ongoing to acquire more floors in the 90 Plein Street building and to refurbish the existing buildings in the precinct.
"What this brings to question is: what and exactly is where is the precinct of Parliament and who controls it?"
Modise also said the disciplinary hearing of suspended Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana was ongoing.
"The agreed dates for the hearing are as scheduled for the end of July to finish the evidence; and early August for closing submissions. We are hoping the matter will find rest soon."
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen expressed his worry that the contract of Mgidlana could expire before he was held accountable while EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said he should be fired immediately.
Modise also announced that Parliament has fully insourced the catering and cleaning staff to permanent employment.
"I am told we also offered permanent employment to employees on the D bands who were appointed on fixed-term contracts, with the exception of employees attached to Political Office bearers and those in the Projects Office," Modise said.
She also said the labour relations climate in Parliament was stable and showed an encouraging upward trend.
Modise said there was continuous dialogue with the union and management despite minor challenges.
"We want Parliament to continue in being the employer of choice to the South African society at large, but I repeat maintaining labour peace must not be at the expense of proper capacity to the public representative."
She reported that positions of chief information officer, chief financial officer and the head of security remained vacant.
"If the request to re-advertise is endorsed/signed, the process to fill these positions will be re-started in order to ensure that the suitable employees who will be appointed into these positions, will be able to deliver on the mandate of the sixth Parliament."