Parliament to stay in Cape Town for now

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cape Town - Any decision made on moving Parliament from Cape Town to Gauteng would require "extensive" consultations with all stakeholders, government spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Thursday.

Briefing the media on Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, Maseko said the task team set up to look into cutting down on wastage in government was also looking at what the various costs were of running a Parliament in Cape Town, while Pretoria remained the seat of government.

"Government does acknowledge that this is not an easy matter and before any decision can be taken a lot of preparatory work needs to be done," he said, adding that Parliament will for now remain in Cape Town.

He said Cabinet would also ask the task team to expedite its work and report back to Cabinet as soon as possible once it had concrete recommendations.

Minister of Public Works Geoff Doidge is expected to brief the media on the current provisions of the ministerial handbook relating to expenditure on cars and accommodation allowances.

"There will be a detailed explanation on how the system currently works, what are the guidelines given to the ministers and what steps need to be given to the ministers so that they spend within a particular limit," said Maseko.

He said presently ministers travelling on official business were allowed to book accommodation in hotels, but added that ministers did not personally make bookings or sign off on hotel bills. This was something done by the offices of the ministers, he said.

"At this particular point in time the ministers are clearly operating within the framework of the (ministerial) handbook," Maseko said, adding that Doidge and the Minister of Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi would explain the rules of the ministerial handbook further.

"It is wrong to create the impression that the ministers are wasteful or are breaking the rules - the rules are there and it's clearly stipulated (in the ministerial handbook)," he said.