Rebuilding parliament will be a costly process, expert says

The historic 138-year-old building was ravaged by fire in January this year, destroying offices and valuable collections.

Africa Melane spoke to the head of the Fire Engineering Research Unit in the Department of Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University, Professor Richard Walls, about the estimated cost of rebuilding the Houses of Parliament.

According to Walls, the government must dig deep into its pockets to rebuild and also move the Parliament from Cape Town to Gauteng. Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille received the final report and announced that it would cost over R1 billion to rebuild the gutted building.

De Lille said the department would begin the process once it had obtained approval from parliamentary authority.

Suspected arsonist Zandile Mafe was arrested for burning down the Houses of Parliament on January 2, 2022 after he was found lying on the ground next to the Houses of Parliament by firefighters.

Walls said restoring Parliament would be a costly affair.

It will be an expensive process to fix, but there is a lot of talk in the background.

Richard Walls, Head of Fire Engineering Research Unit – University of Stellenbosch

You can’t leave a gutted building in the middle of Cape Town, and they’ll end up spending money to fix it, whether they like it or not.

Richard Walls, Head of Fire Engineering Research Unit – University of Stellenbosch

Walls added that it will be years before Parliament is renovated.

It’s an expensive heritage building, with a lot of IT and security inside, and it’s a very expensive project that they’re going to overtake.

Richard Walls, Head of Fire Engineering Research Unit – University of Stellenbosch

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