Moving Parliament from Cape Town to Pretoria: Treasury crunches the numbers

Development update parliament pretoria David Harrison



See more Cape Town Development Updates here

Recently a feasibility study was put to tender by Parliament in late August for a move to Pretoria. This study would consider the economic and social(employee, not societal) implications of the move.

Here are a few of the numbers so far:

  • Parliament employs about 1 400 people in Cape Town. This means that a move would result in massive costs logistically and socially to a large tranche of people in Cape Town.
  • A suggested cost of move to Pretoria would is about R7-billion. 
  • Projected savings deriving from the move have been estimated at between R500-million and R750-million a year, but there is little agreement about when this benefit would kick in and there is disagreement as to the accuracy of these savings.

Arguments for and against the move:

  • The principal argument for the move is economic efficiency and operational efficiency; that diminishing the number of South African capital cities would result in more efficient operations. 
  • Opposition to the move argue that having three capitals guarantees a degree of political pluralism which is in and of itself valuable, and that it makes sense to bind the country together by apportioning responsibilities to different cities.
  • There is also skepticism as to whether the move would indeed be more efficient since the cost analyses focus on measurable values related to travel between capitals, and less on the operational efficiency of the greater fabric of Cape Town (which is admittedly difficult to analyse, but is certainly important for an institution which must be responsible to the future of a complex and diverse nation.) Cape Town, it’s history, heritage and vibrant community of activists would be flung to the periphery of the South African political system.

Should the analysis come out in favour of Parliament remaining in Cape Town, an expansion of the existing parliament buildings has been commissioned by the Department of Public Works and produced by Design Space Africa.

The design, consisting of a three-storey domed structure and a number of multi-storey blocks attached to it, it will address the serious need for additional space currently. According to National government, the architects, Design Space Africa, drew their design inspiration from traditional African grass huts. They view the building as being a unique, “iconic” version of the simple aforementioned structures.Parliament Design Space Africa Development Update

The idea behind the building is the encourage public participation in Parliament through the development of new spaces that will make room for members of the public to sit in on meetings, debates and addresses. These new developments would also be able to host the media and additional Parliamentary members. The plans also make provisions for a new banqueting hall and parking.



See more Cape Town Development Updates here


  1. Treasury does the maths on shifting Parliament to Pretoria – as Cape Town fumes
  2. Parliament Precinct Cape Town
  3. Parliament Expansion – Development Proposal – Cape Town

Image Credit:

  1. David Harrison
  2. Design Space Africa