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CAPE TOWN--The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, says a service provider has been appointed to conduct an impact study on a proposal to move the South African Parliament from Cape Town to Pretoria, the seat of Government.

The proposed move has been on the cards for a number of years and Mbete disclosed the move to conduct the study when he tabled Parliament's budget vote in the Assembly on Tuesday. The national legislature has a budget of 2.4 billion Rand (about 191 million US dollars) for the current financial year.

The proposed move of Parliament to Pretoria has been on the cards for a number of years. The Fifth Parliament has finally appointed a company to look into the viability of this.

An external provider, Pamoja, has been appointed to conduct a six month socio-economic and impact study commencing this month. The report will be hand over to the Sixth Parliament (after next year's general election).

Mbete said Parliament would have to function with less than what it needs. We requested an amount of 2.8 billion Rand to Treasury as budget estimates. We thus have a shortfall of 476 million Rand. Honourable Members must be mindful that the budget also includes medical aid, and salaries of members, amongst others. Parliament has a direct charge to the National Revenue Fund, as a provision for Member's remuneration, which is a total of just over 493 million Rand.

Deputy Opposition Chief Whip Mike Waters said budgetary constraints had far-reaching implications. It is little wonder that many committees find themselves under-capacitated with content adviser and researchers, negatively affecting our ability as Parliament to hold the Executive to account. In fact, the sluggish manner in which some portfolio committees have dealt with the State Capture issue has been blamed on the lack of resources of committees.


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