The process of restoring and reconstructing the Parliamentary building that was gutted by fire a year ago has begun. This is according to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The process has begun after Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana announced a R2 billion cash boost at his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement towards the reconstruction of parliament. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure had estimated the damage to cost just over R1.2 billion.
Although this year the annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) is being held at the City Hall, Mapisa-Nqakula says she is happy that the process has begun.
“We are hoping that in three years’ time, parliament will be back to what it is supposed to be. With the cash injection, they are hopeful that by April, some members will be back in their offices.”
SONA 2023 | Mapisa-Nqakula elaborates on restoration of Parliament building:
National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chairperson Amos Masondo has echoed the same sentiments. He says work has commenced and it is a good sign. He says although the sittings have been hybrid, members have now been given the opportunity to be more physically present in parliament to participate in all relevant proceedings.
SONA 2023 | Restoration of Parliament building to be completed in two years:
Another challenge is offices that were affected by the fire as this hinders members to attend sittings physically. Members of Parliament are still mainly working in a hybrid system.
Meanwhile, the alleged arsonist Zandile Mafe remains in custody. He is accused of causing the fire at Parliament on 2 January 2022.