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LOOK: Check out the National Assembly’s ‘new’ venue [PICS]

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The National Assembly will now hold its sittings at the Good Hope Chamber, which is still within the precincts of Parliament.

Just a day after the New Year, a fire gutted parts of Parliament, destroying both the National Assembly and Old Assembly buildings.

Zandile Mafe, a 49-year-old man, has been arrested in connection with the blaze and faces several charges, including arson and terrorism. His alleged role in the fire is a saga on its own – he has just been admitted for a mental evaluation after being diagnosed with paranoid schrizophrenia and his lawyers are fighting for his release on bail.

ALSO READ: Parliament fire: Cape Town City Hall confirmed as SONA 2022 venue

Parliamentary speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has insisted that their work will continue uninterrupted, in the wake of the blaze. February is an important month for Parliament, as several note-worthy events are on its calender, including the Budget Speech and State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“After considering various alternative venues, the meeting took a decision that, beyond the SONA, the sittings of the National Assembly – including the Budget Speech scheduled for February- must be retained within the precincts of Parliament, in the Good Hope Chamber”

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo

Parliament’s Good Hope Chamber: What to know

Here’s bit of a history lesson for you: The Good Hope Chamber is considered one of the oldest meeting rooms of Parliament, having been used for the sittings of the Cape Legislative Assembly between 1854 and 1885. Like the National Assembly and Old Assembly buildings, the Good Hope Chamber was apparently also destroyed by a fire in 1892, before being rebuilt as music hall around 1900.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo shared some incredible snaps of the building on his Twitter page.

The National Assembly will now hold its sittings in GoodHope Chamber.
It was used for sittings of Cape Legislative Assembly 1854-1885. Destroyed by fire in 1892 and rebuilt as music hall around 1900. State bought it from Freemasons in 1916. MPs occupied the building since 1994 pic.twitter.com/e6sFC7EJG1

— Moloto Mothapo (@MolotoMothapo) January 14, 2022

“It has essential technical capabilities and meets basic requirements for sittings of the House. It is one of the buildings of Parliament that has not been affected by the fire and has previously been used for National Assembly Mini-Plenaries. It has a seating capacity of 170 persons and permits 70 persons under Covid-19 social-distancing arrangements”

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo

ALSO READ: Parliament fire: Up to TEN ‘safety violations’ identified by experts

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