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Relocation of Parliament will be serious political decision to be taken by all parties – Speaker

MUCH of the Parliament building was gutted by fire in January. l Picture: PHANDO JIKELO/African News Agency (ANA)

MUCH of the Parliament building was gutted by fire in January. l Picture: PHANDO JIKELO/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 1, 2022

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Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

SPEAKER Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the issue of the relocation of Parliament will require a political decision and cannot be taken simply because there was a fire that gutted the national legislature.

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Mapisa-Nqakula said the engineers were still attending to the situation in Parliament and yesterday they presented a report to the joint standing committee on the financial management of Parliament.

Coega Development Corporation began its work in the building to assess the extent of the damage.

Christo Beukes, the project manager, said they began their assessment in February. This was the first phase of the report. He added that the damage in the National Assembly was significant.

“If you look at our overall assessment findings and recommendations coming this first phase and to make a pronouncement on the structure, we did not see any risk of immediate collapse of these buildings.

“Our structural pronouncement was that the investigations by the Hawks and forensics can continue. The findings indicated that in the concrete structure in the National Assembly, from the second to the sixth floor, the damage is quite significant due to the fire,” said Beukes.

He said phase two of the report will be submitted by May.

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However, when some of the MPs raised the issue of the relocation of Parliament, Mapisa-Nqakula said it was not on the agenda yet. But this will be a political decision taken with all parties.

She said the focus was now on the devastation caused by the fire.

The report that was presented was a very important report because it addressed some of the questions on the scale and extent of the damage, she added.

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On the issue of the relocation of Parliament, she said it would require a serious political decision.

“Members are raising issues such as the issue of the relocation of. May I point out to members that at this point in time the focus really is on the assessment of the damage caused by the fire.

“Issues of relocation of Parliament, issues of restoration or rebuilding of Parliament are issues which we can only start discussing as South Africans once we have had an understanding and picture of how much we can do with what is left out of the ruins of Parliament.

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“Obviously, the issue of relocation of Parliament… will be a very serious political decision to take at this point. It will require our collective thinking, collective engagement and collective decision-making by all of us,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

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