Liberation site in Mamelodi proposed as suitable location to host Parliament
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Pretoria - Mamelodi has been strongly touted by local stakeholders, led by the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco), as a suitable location to host Parliament.
Sanco in Mamelodi weighed in on the long-standing debate to move Parliament from Cape Town to Pretoria, in the wake of the blaze that ravaged parts of the National Assembly last week.
According to local Sanco branch secretary Vusi Masemola, the proposal gained traction at a meeting of 12 local stakeholders at the Mamelodi Council Chambers on January 5.
Those in attendance were the Mamelodi Liquor Association, ANC Youth League, Mamelodi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mamelodi Inter-Denominational Evangelical Ministers Fraternal, Cosas, Mamelodi Community Police Forum, 4 Plus 1 Taxi Association, Mamelodi Zion Ministries and Youth Association, Contralesa, Solomon Mahlangu Foundation and Thandanani Drop-In Centre.
The organisations resolved that there was a need to have Mamelodi declaring its interest to host Parliament.
Participants, according to Masemola, would write a letter to Speaker of Parliament Thandi Modise, to express “the interest of the people of Mamelodi to have Parliament be built in their township”.
They would also request an audience with Modise to deliberate on the proposal.
Masemola said: “Sanco will represent the interests of all the stakeholders and organisations that met on that day in championing the relocation of Parliament from Cape Town to Tshwane.”
He said participants also noted that a feasibility study on Parliament’s relocation was previously commissioned during the tenure of Thulas Nxesi as the Minister of Public Works and former Speaker Baleka Mbete.
“We are aware that a number of sites were identified as probable locations to house Parliament of the people from that feasibility study,” Masemola said.
Two sites in Mamelodi were among the ones earmarked as possible locations to house Parliament, he said.
The area in D6 Mamelodi west stretching from the historic Rondavels to Moretele River towards the east was identified as a site.
Masemola said: “This is the place that includes the Old Vista University where Reverend Stanley Mokgoba, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Mathole Motshekga studied.”
Another site was the area on the left of Pretoria Road or Old Church Street towards Bronkhorstspruit near Donkerhoek Tollgate.
Citing reasons behind the interest to house Parliament in the township, Masemola said: “Our interest stems from the recommendation of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee, emanating from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that in Mamelodi there would be a multi-purpose centre built, which will serve as a form of bringing healing to the collective psyche of our people who were adversely affected by apartheid.”
He added: “Parliament of the People cannot be hidden somewhere in Queenswood, Arcadia or Centurion, but should instead be located where the majority of the people live.
“Having the Parliament in Mamelodi will go a long way in transforming the economic fortunes of this historic township and work towards building a city within the city of Tshwane,” Masemola said.
He noted that Mamelodi was on a liberation heritage route, where the second ANC president, Reverend Sefako Makgatho, was buried.
Among the political icons hailing from the township are Barry Mokadikoa, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu,
Stanza Bopape, Reverend Nico Smith, Dr Fabian and Florence Ribeiro, the young activists killed by Joe Mamasela dubbed the Mamelodi 10, KwaNdebele 9, Ting Ting Masango and Moss Chikane.
In the wake of the recent blaze, the EFF reiterated its call for the relocation of Parliament from Cape Town to Tshwane, stating that the move would drastically cut costs on parliamentarians who have additional residences and vehicles in the Western Cape.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina has reportedly argued that the relocation of Parliament to Tshwane was not a priority, especially at a time when the country was grappling with a high unemployment rate, inequality and underdevelopment.
In a radio interview this week, ANC MPL and leader of the opposition in Western Cape Legislature, Cameron Dugmore, disagreed with the proposed move of Parliament to Pretoria.
The City of Cape Town last year told the Pretoria News that relocating the National Assembly to the country’s capital would not make “economic sense”.
Professor Johan Marx of the School of Economic and Financial Sciences at Unisa previously told the Pretoria News that moving could cost an estimated R7 billion, “but may save the government about R650 million a year”.
In 2016, former Tshwane mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa said the metro had identified Fort Klapperkop as a proposed place to house Parliament.