Parliament chief promises rebuilding of legislature will be completed by deadline

Secretary to Parliament Xolile George says work is under way for the rebuilding of parliament. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Secretary to Parliament Xolile George says work is under way for the rebuilding of parliament. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Published Jul 31, 2023


Secretary to Parliament Xolile George has insisted that the reconstruction and restoration of the institution will be completed within the deadline of 2025.

This is despite some of the challenges related to the removal of the rubble on the ground due to a number of conditions.

Parliament was burnt down in January last year and Zandile Mafe is on trial in the Western Cape High Court for burning parliament.

National Treasury has allocated R2 billion for its rebuilding.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa was appointed to manage the project.

The City Press reported that parliament was still lying in ruins 18 months after it was torched.

But George said on Monday there have been no significant delays in the restoration of parliament.

He said they were supposed to start the removal of the rubble by June and finish by the end of July.

But there have been a number of issues on the ground that have prevented them from removing the rubble on time.

“Indeed, we planned to start on June 20 to remove the rubble and complete it by the end of July. Right at the start of that process you can only proceed on the basis of detailed technical assessment by structural engineers that are very central to determine a building where the report says the extensive damage in the New Wing or Old Assembly has been so massive, such that the structural integrity of the building was compromised in many areas.

“To be able handle multiple attendant processes you are facing the Auditor-General that says we want to see what assets are there,” he said.

That would mean physically going to the affected buildings to count the desks, furniture and other items.

“Physical verification entails going through the building and going through the building means navigating space underground where heritage assets are and physically identifying if the office chair is there, the desk is there, its coding is still recognisable and so on,” said George.

He said there were conditions on the ground that would prevent people from going there.

He said water ingress has penetrated many areas and conditions on the site change every week.

Oxygen levels were also dropping on the ground.

These conditions add to the work that needs to be done.

When they tried to remove the rubble in a period of a month they had set aside, they were faced with those conditions on the ground.

However, George said they remained committed to finish the rebuilding of parliament by 2025.

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