THE City of Johannesburg is taking transparent governance to a whole new level with the construction of a R130-million glass-facaded building that will include the council chamber.
The new building is to go up on the council precinct in Braamfontein. It will be “wheelchair friendly” and will also accommodate the offices of the council’s Speaker and other city officials.
It will carry the city’s name and logo displayed in blazing neon day and night.
Billy Madungandaba, spokesman for the council Speaker, Constance Bapela, said construction would probably begin next month or in February. The building is scheduled for completion before the 2016 local government elections.
Madungandaba said the current council chamber was too small for a growing city.
“There is limited seating in the current chamber. This forced the council to seek alternative venues for events such as the State of the City speech, at additional cost to the city.”
The new chamber will have seating for the city’s 269 councillors and for at least 100 members of the public.
The current chamber can seat only 20 people in the public gallery.
Johannesburg is not the only metro that will have new council buildings.
Tshwane councillors and officials are expected to begin occupying the city’s new R2-billion building, Tshwane House, in the first quarter of next year.
The National Assembly precinct is to get a R1.4-billion upgrading, which will include:
•A 1500-seat chamber with a banqueting hall, costing R487-million;
•A 16 000m² office tower, restaurant and apartment complex: R312million; and
•A pavilion building and visitors’ centre: R68-million.