Swamp holds up African Parliament construction

African Parliament

Over five years ago, the Pan-African Parliament — an offshoot of the African Union — was created in Ethiopia. Since then, the parliament has been moved to Midrand, South Africa, a town about halfway between Johannesburg, and that country’s capital, Pretoria. The body’s 265 parliamentary representatives are elected by the legislatures and parliaments of the AU’s 53 respective member states.

The building, which just began in May 2009 and was due to open next year, has just been delayed due to the discovery of a swamp and wetland area on the building site. The area is presumed to be part of the Hennops River, which runs through both Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Engineers, architects and local policymakers are now trying to work out how to incorporate the wetland into the design of the structure.

“We are pleased that the wetland was discovered before more damage was done to the area,” said Makude Kekana, who is overseeing the project for South Africa’s Department of Public Works, in an interview with the BBC.

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