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Inside Malema's plan to move parliament from Cape Town to Tshwane

EFF Julius Malema want parliament moved from Cape Town to the City of Tshwane.
EFF Julius Malema want parliament moved from Cape Town to the City of Tshwane.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

EFF leader Julius Malema plans to introduce the Relocation of Parliament Bill in coming weeks which, if adopted, would see parliament relocated from Cape Town to the City of Tshwane. 

In an explanatory memorandum gazetted this week, Malema said parliament’s current location creates several problems for MPs, politicians and “broader society” wanting to participate in parliament's legislative and oversight functions.

The bill comes as the old assembly and the new National Assembly buildings that were ravaged by fire earlier this year are still to be restored.

“Parliament is located in the farthest province from the majority of provinces, making it inaccessible to the majority of South Africans, including MPs who spend a significant amount of time travelling to and from parliament,” Malema argued. 

He said participation in parliamentary programmes is limited to individuals and institutions with financial resources and excludes those unable to travel to Cape Town.

“As a result, parliament and the government spend a lot of money on travel and lodging for MPs, the executive, the government, and state officials in order to keep colonial agreements that separate [the] administrative and legislative capita(s) in two cities by racist colonisers who excluded the majority of black people and still do so today,” he said. 

Interested parties and institutions are invited to submit written representations on the proposed content of the draft bill to the speaker of the National Assembly within 30 days of the publication of the notice.

This is not the first time the EFF has argued that the move will help reduce costs. 

“Politically, the location of the legislature in Cape Town while the administration of the country is located in Tshwane was a deal brokered by British and Afrikaner settlers upon the establishment of the union of SA,” the party said after the fire. 

“To maintain this colonial pact of how we organise our society is nothing but a betrayal of African people and a reaffirmation that white racist spatial and political planning still overdetermines our lives in this country.”

The EFF’s proposal was welcomed by transport minister Fikile Mbalula, who said relocating made sense.

“We have long taken a decision to relocate parliament to Gauteng, but not at the exploitation of dubious circumstances like burning down a building. Relocating makes financial and political sense,” Mbalula said.

The proposal was met with backlash from some politicians, including DA federal chairperson Helen Zille and former MP Phumzile Van Damme, who questioned the financial, infrastructure, employment and constitutional implications of such a move.

 


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