Opposition raises concern over amount

BARELY two years after the Bhisho Legislature received a major facelift with an animal print theme, the building’s interior is being refurbished again.

The provincial legislature’s interior upgrade, which started in February and is expected to be completed by next year, will cost R13.8-million.

The legislature’s exterior and grounds recently had a major R10-million facelift adjacent to the Raymond Mhlaba chamber. It was completed late last year as part of the Bhisho Revitalisation Programme.

The legislature is currently in recess with no politicians on sight.

Only officials and construction workers could be seen moving up and down the legislature corridors.

All floor tiles and carpets leading to committee rooms and administration offices have been removed and designer lounge suites, installed only two years ago, now gather the dust generated by the construction company’s hard work.

Legislature spokeswoman Bulelwa Ganyaza referred all queries to the public works department, saying they were responsible for the facelift.

Roads and public works spokesman Sisanda George confirmed this and said he expected it to be complete by March 2014. He also said floor tiles, ceilings and lighting in the passages would also be replaced and staircases and all legislature toilets would be completely renovated and redecorated.

In some toilets, all the wall and floor tiles, urinals and basins have been removed completely.

The house will also have its air-conditioning equipment and security system repaired and upgraded and the entire interior repainted.

“As the custodian of all government properties, we need to ensure that they are maintained and kept in good condition.

“The legislature is the most important building as it serves as the seat of government. Politicians in the province and the assessment conducted on that building warranted all these renovations,” said George.

Opposition parties welcomed the renovations, with the DA’s Bobby Stevenson saying they were long overdue as there had been constant problems with the toilets and tiling.

But Stevenson raised concerns about the amount spent.

Official opposition COPE’s Mbulelo Ntenjwa was also positive. “We have been to many legislatures and we have seen that a lot still needs to be done in ours. We feel that improving things like security here will also contribute to the performance of members,” Ntenjwa said.