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In a meeting in Cape Town today, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure handed back to Parliament various buildings that were gutted in the January 2022 fire. Accepting the buildings on behalf of Parliament, the Secretary to Parliament, Mr Xolile George, described the reconstruction as a unique historical opportunity to reimagine the deep heritage of the people’s Parliament with the modernity needed by the Parliament of today.

South Africa is a melting pot of various peoples, Mr George said, with Parliament representing the many facets of our rich heritage. The reconstruction process will make every effort to preserve as much of this heritage as possible while reimagining a capable and responsive African Parliament.

“We must ensure that modernity and heritage blend perfectly, a challenge we are placing on the desk of the architectural team expected to help Parliament achieve these new goals that include enhanced functionality with Members of the National Council of Provinces during joint sittings, and over 1 000 members of the public and stakeholder that are keen to meaningfully participate in parliamentary activities and processes,” the Secretary to Parliament said. 

The fire also necessitated higher levels of vigilance to mitigate all kinds of risks, including new weather patterns, so that nothing can disrupt Parliament’s business continuity in the future.

During the meeting, Mr George also introduced the recently appointed Special Projects Manager, Mr Simon Mashigo who assumed duties today. He will assist Parliament to manage the reconstruction programme through its implementing agency the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA).

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, in collaboration with its implementing agency Coega, also provided a comprehensive report on the state of Parliament’s damaged buildings, including zoning various areas as safe, moderately safe, and dangerous, to help guide the stages of the reconstruction programme announced by Mr George during a media conference held last month.

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Part of today’s handover also included a guided walkabout of the gutted buildings, with Parliament and the DBSA along with the Department of Public Works and Coega. Closing the meeting, the Secretary to Parliament said every effort will be made to ensure that the reconstruction programme remains on course so that the newly reconstructed buildings can form part of the celebrations to mark 30 years of democratic Parliaments scheduled to kick-off in 2024.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.