The wild concept for South Africa’s new R2 billion parliament

 ·8 Mar 2024

The Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament has presented an update on the repairs and upgrade to the Old Assembly and National Assembly buildings which were gutted by a fire in January 2022.

As part of the presentation, the committee also provided the concept art of what the new parliament will look like.

According to the committee, the National Assembly will be demolished and replaced with a biophilic structure (mimicking nature) – in this case, resembling a protea, South Africa’s national flower and symbol of parliament.

This includes an elevated chamber to house the National Assembly itself, featuring natural lighting and ventilation.

Reflecting the shape of the ‘flower’, the chamber will be circular, with seating for 600 members on the assembly floor and 720 more seats in two public galleries.

Regarding the Old Assembly, the plan is to demolish the building and replace it with an atrium facade, leaning into the overall biophilic aesthetic.

According to the committee, while R2 billion was initially projected to be the cost of the repairs and upgrades, this has been revised upwards slightly to R2.1 billion.

The re-do will also encompass the replacement of ICT infrastructure and an overall modernisation of the facilities.

“R2 billion was appropriated based on high level estimates. It was understood that the costing will be iterative based on the design concepts right up to the final account,” the committee said.

“A scope rationalisation exercise and the contracting allowed for a least-cost approach. The revised estimate after value engineering for the main works and compliance electronics sits at R2.1 billion. The estimate cost fo the ICT replacement and modernisation is R943 million,” it said.

This brings the total up to R3 billion – with the additional budget for the ICT infrastructure.

The project is only about 41% complete, with stage 4 of the plan – preparing tender documents and contracting – expected to be complete by the end of July 2024.

The actual build and execution of the project is expected to be complete by 23 December 2025, with handover anticipated by February 2026. The final account should be settled by May 2026, the committee said.

The project is currently three months behind schedule, but is still anticipated to meet the final deadlines set. Demolition work should kick off from April 2024.

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