President Zuma has re-established his decision to move the SA parliament to Pretoria for safer and cheaper benefit of government.
The president who was addressing members of parliament on Tuesday explained the motive behind his decision to move parliament to Pretoria. He said it’s so the state would save money.
Zuma also announced the establishment of a government team that would explore the relocation as he reiterated that it would be cheaper to move Parliament to Pretoria than stay in Cape Town,
Although Zuma stressed the matter was not one for the executive to decide as it was “within the ambit of Parliament”, he said a series of studies had shown the cost of moving the legislature to Pretoria would be “significantly less than maintaining the status quo”.
According to him, an interdepartmental task team had been set up to study the feasibility of the proposed relocation, which he revived as an issue during his State of the Nation Address in February.
It was once argued that the proposed plan to move the SA parliament was a complete waste of money having no political and economic impact.
“If Parliament were to move, a new parliamentary chamber will have to be built in Pretoria as well as parliamentary villages to accommodate all the out-of–town MPs. We are talking big money. After the president mentioned it in his speech, Nomura economist Peter Attard-Montalto estimated the cost of relocation to be around R7bn, with annual savings of R500m to R750m,” Melanie Verwoerd is a former ANC MP and SA ambassador to Ireland said.
“To move Parliament to Pretoria would involve massive capital outlay in the short term, with any savings decades later. That is not something our already fragile economy can afford,” She added
Though the legislature is yet to conclude on the matter, the idea has since the era of President Nelson Mandela, even as number of studies have been conducted on the costs and benefits.
President Jacob Zuma acknowledged the cost of moving between the two capitals was “huge” but he said, preliminary analysis “continues to point to the same conclusions” as those drawn by studies conducted in 1995, 1997 and 2011.
“These indicated that in the long term the cost to relocate the legislative authority from Cape Town to Pretoria will be significantly less than maintaining the status quo,” Zuma said as he acknowledged that Cape Town would lose valuable income and jobs, particularly in the finance and business sectors if Parliament moved.
The Department of Public Works was considering the cost of building a new SA parliamentary precinct in Pretoria, compared with the cost of upgrading and expanding the existing precinct. Zuma said the presiding officers had made it clear they needed more space.
He also said the money spent on the studies for the move should not be seen as wasteful because if SA Parliament decided to move, it would ask the Treasury for the money to do so.