First sitting of new Parliament will be at the Cape Town International Convention Centre

The new National Assembly will not be complete until February 2026

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A graphic representation of how the new National Assembly will look when completed in 2026. Photo from Parliament’s website.

Those who hoped the newly elected seventh Parliament might be inaugurated in the parliamentary precinct will be disappointed. The new National Assembly is still under construction. Instead, Members of Parliament will take their oath of allegiance to South Africa and the Constitution at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) during the first sitting of the new Parliament.

The CTICC said arrangements are confidential and it would not comment.

In a press statement on Sunday, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said: “Currently, there is no National Assembly, and the process to establish the new House [the seventh Parliament] has commenced”.

In January 2022, a fire devastated Parliament, affecting both the Old Assembly and the National Assembly building. Since then, the annual state of the nation address and national assembly sessions have been held at the Cape Town City Hall.

In January this year, Parliament said the first year after the fire was dedicated to assessing the damage. The next year, 2023, was spent laying the groundwork for reconstruction.

According to the January statement, construction – estimated at the time to cost more than R2-billion – was scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2024 and to be completed at the end of 2025.

This has changed. Demolition and rubble removal are now expected to be finished in July and construction to only start in August, with the completion date pushed out to February 2026.

At a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament on 8 March, Xolile George, Secretary to Parliament, said that an additional R943-million will be needed for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to modernise Parliament’s operations.

Parliament has launched a website with information on the reconstruction. The website includes a timeline for the construction work and a virtual tour of how the new building will look when completed.

TOPICS:  Parliament

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