The issue of possibly relocating Parliament has come up several times since the late 1990s, with many top ANC MPs supporting a move saying billions of rand could be saved as officials would not have to move between the two cities, and that having two centres of government was an apartheid-era arrangement.
Chabane suggested Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s concern about the exorbitant costs of moving ministers and departmental delegations between the two cities should not be seen as a firm decision to relocate the legislature.
“We move a huge chunk of administration from time to time to come and attend to issues in Cape Town,” Chabane said. “What the statement [from Gordhan] says is that we need to find the ways to reduce the number of officials we bring down.”
Pretoria is the country’s administrative capital, while Cape Town is the legislative capital.
“We have to pay accommodation, transportation… and allowances that have to be paid, so therefore we think there is a case for us to be able to reduce that expenditure in the short term, but Treasury also, with public works, have been asked to see what is the cost for us to maintain the two capitals,” Chabane said.
He said it should be noted that a decision to move Parliament was not one to be made by the executive, but by the legislature itself.