Relocating parliament might be risky: Expert

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Moving Parliament to Pretoria could put at risk, the skills needed to run the institution. This is according to the Executive Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the Constitution, Lawson Naidoo.

Last week, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, announced that a company has been appointed to do an impact study or the relocation of the institution.

During her budget vote speech last week, National Assembly Speaker Mbete, made the announcement.

“An external provider Pamoja has been appointed to conduct a six month socio economic and impact study commencing this month. This is a issue we will hand over to the 6th parliament,” said Mbete.

It is not the first time the relocation is proposed. Besides the cost involved in the short term, the skills required to run Parliament might be lost as well. This is the opinion of the Executive Secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the Constitution, Lawson Naidoo.

“This was raised by former President Jacob Zuma in his Sona last year. But in my opinion it was just to detract from the bigger issues facing our country at the time. So I don’t think this is something that we need to debate right now, there are many others we can take head on.”

African National Congress (ANC) members of Parliament (MP), Vincent Smith, says keeping Parliament in Cape Town is costing too much.

“There are productivity implications because members of the executive and officials commute between the two capitals at huge financial cost, sometimes for engagements that don’t last four hours. Our contribution to saving costs in the long run is to give advice to 6th parliament to embark on a programme of relocating.”

Two opposition members, Narend Singh from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and Freedom Front Plus leader, Pieter Groenewald, say their support for the move would depend on the cost involved.

The President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Janine Myburgh, says the economic impact on the province will be significant.

“Business in the Western Cape will suffer astronomically, will be a huge vacuum, but also don’t know if our economy can afford.”