The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party on Sunday said the devastating fire at the Parliament buildings was an “opportunity to permanently relocate Parliament to Gauteng”.
Parliament buildings mysteriously caught alight around 6 am.
More than 70 firefighters battled the fire, which continued to burn for hours – spreading from the old building housing the National Council of Provinces to the newer National Assembly.
The EFF led by Julius Malema said it has noted the ongoing fires at the precinct of the Parliament of South Africa.
“These fires, which are reported to have caused devastating damage to the Old Assembly, the New Assembly as well as numerous offices, has essentially turned the legislature into ashes,” said the EFF in a statement.
The EFF said it commends all efforts to put out the fires and urges all firefighting personnel to act with caution and ensure none of their lives are risked for the sake of a building.
“As much as we note the fires with concern, the EFF has long called for Parliament to be relocated to a central location for political and cost-related reasons,” said the statement.
“Politically, the location of the legislature of South Africa in the City of Cape Town, while the administration of the country is located in the City of Tshwane was a deal brokered by British and Afrikaner settlers upon the establishment of the Union of South Africa.
“This came post the Anglo-Boer War, as a means of splitting the resources of this country between two settlers nations, at the exclusion of Africans.
“To maintain this colonial pact of how we organise our society is nothing but a betrayal of African people and a reaffirmation that white-racist spatial and political planning still over-determines our lives in this country.”
The EFF said the continued location of Parliament in Cape Town was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“It results in unnecessary expenditure on both travel and accommodation for Parliamentarians and members of Cabinet,” said the statement.
“If there is any appetite to curb wasteful government expenditure and cut all ties related to the colonial framework established by those who conquered this nation, this fire must serve as an opportunity to permanently relocate Parliament to Gauteng.
“This will allow government work to be synchronised.
“The EFF, therefore, calls for any money which would be set aside for repairs of what seems like irreversible damage, unless there is large-scale construction, to be used to relocate Parliament to Tshwane where the Union Buildings reside.”