South Africa’s parliament announces significant strides in the restoration of its infrastructure slated for 2024. Following the devastating fire that engulfed the main National Assembly building nearly two years ago, believed to be an arson attack, Parliament is set on revitalizing its structures.
Anticipating the unveiling of initial design concepts by November, Parliament aims for a comprehensive restoration completion by 2025. Secretary to Parliament, Xolile George, expresses confidence in the progress, emphasizing the meticulous planning underway to bring the fire-ravaged buildings back to life in the upcoming year.
The journey toward reconstruction is not without challenges. Preparing for heritage approvals and securing essential permits are integral steps preceding the commencement of the ambitious restoration project. The proposal includes retaining the facade of the National Assembly building to preserve architectural continuity with the adjacent Old Assembly building and the National Council of Provinces building, both affected by the fire.
The reconstruction plan involves the demolition of unsafe internal sections while incorporating modern, eco-friendly structures within the existing facade. Secretary Xolile George reveals that the designs for the new National Assembly will be open for bids from pre-qualified contractors starting February, after completing necessary regulatory processes.
In a collaborative effort, the City of Cape Town has contributed its engineering expertise to a parliamentary review panel tasked with evaluating the proposed designs and their associated costs. The partnership aims to ensure a comprehensive and well-informed approach to the reconstruction endeavor.
National Treasury has earmarked an initial allocation of R2 billion for the restoration project and entrusted the Development Bank of Southern Africa with overseeing the construction. With these strategic measures in place, Parliament is not only rebuilding its physical structures but also fostering a resilient and modern environment for the years to come.