‘New, upgraded Parliament will embody spirit of the Constitution’

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The new, upgraded and reconstructed Parliament of South Africa will embody the spirit of the Constitution and represent the diversity of the people of the country. This is the vision of the architects assigned to the rebuilding and redesign of the institution.

Parts of Parliament were gutted in the January 2022 fire. Since then, preparations have been under way before actual construction starts.

Today, the keys to the National Assembly were handed over to the contractors who will be tackling the project.

It’s been described as the most important day by the Secretary to Parliament Xolile George. He says a lot has already happened, leading up to this point.

“Today the concrete work starts…”

The National Assembly was the worst hit by the fire which broke out on the 2nd of January 2022.

This area has been declared a red zone, but the media were for the first time since the fire, given a few minutes, to get visuals of the destruction. Those assigned to redesign and rebuild say the concept of social and spatial justice is the inspiration behind the project.

“Looked through the lenses to envisage the project, how do people interact with Parliament,” says Nadia Tromp, Principal architect: Ntsika Architects.

National symbols will be incorporated in the design to reflect the country’s history. State of the art interactive digital technology will also be added, to give visitors a better glimpse of the institution.

The cost of the rebuild is estimated to be around R3.1 billion. This could change, based on the final contract awarded.

Parliament says there will be constant progress reports on timelines and costs of the project which is aimed to be closed by the middle of 2026.

The once hallowed halls of Parliament now look like a dungeon of terror and dread.

But maybe the one silver lining amidst all this destruction, is that the reconstruction of the institution will make it a more participatory precinct, bringing Parliament closer to the people.