The government of South Africa through the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is planning a refurbishment and upgrades project for several government buildings across the nation. These buildings include the 245 members of parliament residential units in parliamentary villages.
According to the aforementioned department, the housing upgrades will include general building repairs and renovations, electrical installations and replacement of appliances, and structural repairs where required.
The total contract value of the renovations is R88.9 million, based on tenders received. A contractor has already been appointed and the project is expected to be executed in phases, with each phase consisting of 50 units.
Other planned upgrades
The department said that it was also working on a number of other upgrades including the external security enhancements at an estimated cost of R68.68 million. This entails the upgrade of all entrances gates and booms to be mechanically operated and electronically controlled from either new or existing upgraded guardhouses.
It also includes the installation of anti-ramming devices to vehicular entrances (retractable bollards where possible), the extension of the existing perimeter fence to meet the SAPS minimum requirements, and construction of structural canopies at all vehicular entrances. The latter includes upgrades of all entry points to the Parliamentary precinct and buildings and upgrading of surveillance equipment in and around the Parliament Precinct.
Various kitchens in parliament buildings will also be upgraded at an estimated cost of R25 million. This will include the replacement of kitchen equipment and re-design of kitchens at 90 Plein Street, Marks Building, National Assembly, and Old Assembly.
Disapproval of the proposed project
The proposed renovations have largely been criticized especially by the committee on the financial management of parliament, with MPs pointing to the exorbitant costs as well as the necessity of security measures such as ‘anti-ramming devices’.