Parliament has officially begun investigating the possibility of moving the national legislature to Pretoria, eNCA reported. National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete reportedly told MPs on Tuesday that Parliament had already appointed a service provider to look into the feasibility of the move.
"With respect to the proposal of relocating parliament from Cape Town to Pretoria, an external service provider, Pamoja PTY LTD, has been appointed to conduct a six-month socio-economic and impact study commencing this month. This is a matter that we will hand over to the sixth Parliament," she reportedly said.
This is not the first time the proposal has been considered. According to eNCA, President Jacob Zuma raised the idea, which had been discussed since the 1990s but was ultimately shot down by the ANC in the Western Cape.
In October 2016, Zuma said that Cabinet was keen to investigate the move, according to News24.
According to TimesLive, the renewed push from government to move the national legislature is because of the high cost involved in running two capital cities. MPs are provided with logistical and administrative support, housing, vehicles, and other expenses all paid for by the state.
Economists have reportedly estimated that the move would cost R7 billion but would ultimately save government between R500 million and R750 million a year.
Parliament issued an invitation for bids for the feasibility study early in February, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. The service provider is also supposed to investigate the economic impact on the Western Cape of moving the legislature.
Parliament wanted to appoint a service provider in mid-2016, according to Business Day. At the time, it was reported that the cost involved in moving the legislature would include building two new houses of Parliament, three new parliamentary villages and an office block for MPs and officials.
An amendment to the Constitution would also be required to change the seat of the national legislature.