A formal public bid has been issued to discuss the feasibility of moving parliament from Cape Town to Pretoria.
The study will consider the socio-economic impact of maintaining parliament in Cape Town compared to the proposed relocation to Pretoria, and will also assess the cost implications of the proposed relocation in terms of personnel, members of parliament and other related projects.
This follows a public pronouncement made by President Jacob Zuma during his 2016 State of the Nation Address, in which he called for the move to Pretoria, citing cost concerns.
“We would like to persuade Parliament to consider the maintenance of two capitals – Pretoria as the administrative, and Cape Town as the legislative…we believe that the matter requires the attention of Parliament soon,” Zuma said at the time.
The president further argued that, with capitals on two opposite ends of the country, members of the executive needed two houses and two cars to do their duties, which was an unnecessary cost.
The loss of Cape Town as South Africa’s legislative capital may once be gaining ground, but it is not necessarily a new idea.
The ANC first made the suggesting to move Parliament to Pretoria in the 1990s, but was met with strong opposition from the ANC in the Western Cape, who campaigned against it.
At the time, the cost to move Parliament to Pretoria would have been R237 million – while the cost to move the country’s administration to Cape Town would have cost R23.5 billion.
A revised break down of the costs published in 2016 saw the costs to move parliament rise to an amount of R7 billion – but it was expected that this would save the country between R500 million and R750 million a year in the future.
Making the move would also mean uprooting 1,400 parliamentary staff and their families, and would have a negative impact on Cape Town’s economy, according to analysts.