Moving parliament to Tshwane is not a priority — ANC chief whip

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina was confident parliament’s work would not be deterred by the fire that gutted some of the legislature’s key buildings.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina was confident parliament’s work would not be deterred by the fire that gutted some of the legislature’s key buildings.
Image: Esa Alexander

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina says moving parliament to Tshwane is not a priority while the country is facing a high unemployment rate, inequality and underdevelopment.

“The debate about moving parliament to Pretoria has financial implications, it has constitutional implications,” Majodina said on Monday.

“If you look at the constitution, the seat of parliament is in Cape Town and therefore we would have to start by amending the constitution if we want to move parliament,” she said.

Speaking to eNCA, Majodina said the move would require money the country does not have.

“If there was no fire, why should we move parliament?

“We cannot prioritise the moving of parliament when we have a high rate of unemployment, underdevelopment and inequality.”

Majodina said she thought it was “good for us” that there are two distinct seats of government; the administrative seat in Pretoria and the legislature in Cape Town.

She was confident parliament’s work would not be deterred by the fire that gutted some of the legislature’s key buildings.

She said she expected MPs to continue with their oversight and lawmaking work, even if it meant “meeting on a field”.

“We are going to make sure everything happens, even if it means we are going to meet on a field, we are going to do that. We are public representatives. We were not elected to sit on the benches. We were elected to work for the people,” she said.

Majodina said her parliamentary office “has gone up in flames for the second time”.

The ANC’s “caucus room” has been destroyed and the offices affected are those occupied by ANC MPs.

ANC MPs are housed across both the Old Assembly and National Assembly buildings. A handful of opposition MPs from GOOD, the National Freedom Party and the PAC are in the same buildings.

Majodina urged MPs to stop speculation, especially those who linked Sunday’s devastating fire with the tabling of the state capture inquiry report.

“We are devastated but we want to allow the law to take its course. We want to allow the investigation not to leave any stone unturned.

“How do we link the two, because the state capture report is not here?”

Since the introduction of the Covid-19 lockdown, parliament has been holding its portfolio committee meetings virtually and following a hybrid system for its plenary sessions, with only a handful of MPs physically attending these.

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