The debate on whether to relocate from the Mother City to Pretoria has entered a new phase.
Cape Town mayor Daniel Plato has hit back at the proponents of the relocation of the National Assembly to the country’s capital, saying it would not make “economic sense”.
Plato spoke after the co-chairperson of the joint standing committee on the financial management of Parliament, Dikeledi Mahlangu, reaffirmed their support to the long-standing move in principle.
Plato, who served as MEC for community safety in the Western Cape provincial government, said he would “definitely not” be in favour of the move, calling it a “mistake” on the part of the government. “It will be a mistake to get the centres of government centralized in one area.” he said.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t make economic sense to centralise all important governmental entities in one area.”
Plato’s stance was in sharp contrast to the position adopted by political parties such as the EFF and the ANC which threw their weight behind the proposed relocation motion.
Former president Jacob Zuma proposed the National Assembly’s relocation to Pretoria five years ago, saying he believed the implementation of the suggestion would cut the cost of public servants. Currently, ministers have two official residences in Pretoria and Cape Town, and two official cars, paid for by taxpayers. They and their senior officials also commute between the two cities, which are the seats of the executive and the legislature, respectively, on official duties, costing hundreds of millions of rand per year.
When Zuma made the suggestion, the EFF bought into the idea. The party’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu was last year quoted as saying “we are here in Cape Town because of a colonial pact”.
While Mahlangu expressed support for the idea, she said the committee was mindful of certain onerous processes that still needed to be followed before a move could take place. “We share the same understanding with those MPs who hold a view that Parliament should move from Cape Town to Pretoria, and we appreciate the fact that a commitment has been made on the side of the institution regarding this matter,” she said.
According to her, there was no need for the committee to debate the matter, saying the acting secretary to Parliament, Baby Tyawa, should rather provide a progress report on a regular basis. Professor Johan Marx of the School of Economic and Financial Sciences at Unisa previously said moving could cost an estimated R7 billion, “but may save the government about R650 million a year”.
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”.
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