The estimated budget available for this project is R325-million and the project is still at the conceptual phase.
Parliamentary spokesperso Luzuko Jacobsn says the project will be completed in time for the next elections, which will coincide with the next elections, which will coincide with President Thabo Mbeki’s last State of the Nation address to the legislature’s biggest audience.
The project will be overseen by the presiding officers, the secretary to Parliament and the Department of Public Works. The awarding of a design contract is being considered and, according to Jacobs, some of the conceptual design work has already been proposed.
“While the multipurpose facility will certainly cater for banqueting requirements, it will have several other uses, including the provision of office and meeting space for members and committees respectively,” says Jacobs.
The envisaged three-storey circular building, part of an extensive parliamentary make-over planned by the presiding officers, will be erected across the road from Parliament on the site of an existing parking lot and buildings scheduled for demolition. Construction is envisaged to begin in mid-2007.
Jacobs says that Parliament is also assessing the possibility of increasing capacity by building new offices.
The aim of this would be to accommodate additional resources and enable Parliament to be more efficient.
“The project will be funded from Parliament’s budget, but at this stage no costing has been done for the project,” says Jacobs.
He adds that the project is inspired by the new democratic ethos embodied in the constitution of the country and is a direct response to the growing needs of the institution, aimed at building an efficient people’s Parliament.