Mon. Dec 16th, 2019

Explainer: Everything you need to know about visiting Parliament

visiting parliament debate national assembly national council of provinceParliamentary sittings are open to the public but you will need to obtain a ticket from the Public Relations Office to visit parliament. Here’s what you need to know.

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It’s an exciting year for South African politics, and you can be part of the action by visiting parliament. You can either book a tour through Tours Administration, or attend a plenary debate.

It’s free of charge and easier than you think! Debates take place in the chambers of the National Assembly or National Council of Provinces (NCOP). In most cases, debates as scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursday morning.

Visiting Parliament: What you need to know

How to get your ticket

Simply contact Public Relations Specialist Tebogo Tsheolo on (021) 403 2197 or to arrange a visit. You will need to book in advance.

The public relations specialist will need your full name, physical address, identity number, telephone number, and the date of the debate you want to attend. Don’t forget to bring along your ID book, ID card or passport on the day.

If you want to go on a tour of Parliament, the same procedure applies. Tours are scheduled from 9:00 until 12:00, Mondays to Fridays. No tours will be scheduled for weekends or public holidays.

What are the rules?

Good question. You may observe the debates but cannot involve yourself in the business of the chamber under any circumstances. This includes loud commentary, demonstrations and other forms of unruly behaviour.

You are also not allowed to take any photos without permissions and your phone must be switched if. If you have any packages, cameras, binoculars or recording equipment of any kind, it has to be checked in at an entry point.

As a visitor, you agree to abide by the instructions of the Speaker or the NCOP Chairperson. If you don’t, security will remove you from the gallery. Serious offences will be subject to a police investigation.

Every visitor will undergo a security check before entering the building and handbags will be scanned. The following items won’t be allowed into parliamentary buildings:

  • Cameras and recording equipment (only in certain areas as advised by the tour guide)
  • Firearms
  • Smoking isn’t allowed.

Parliament address

It’s on the Upper Ground Floor of 90 Plein Street, Cape Town. Please note that the entrance to the Visitor’s Centre is at 120 Plein Street.


From the N2

  • Follow the N2 highway into the CBD (towards Table Mountain)
  • Just past Groote Schuur Hospital on your right, the N2 splits. Keep left. This will take you along De Waal Drive
  • Just past Vredehoek on your left, De Waal Drive becomes Roeland Street
  • Continue with Roeland Street to the T-junction
  • Turn right into Plein Street at the T-junction
  • Find parking
  • Enter via the Visitor’s Centre on the Ground Floor 120 Plein Street.

From the N1

  • Follow the N1 highway into the CBD (towards Table Mountain)
  • As you approach the Foreshore, take the Christiaan Barnard off-ramp
  • At the first set of traffic lights, turn left into Christiaan Barnard
  • Continue until you see Good Hope Centre on your left. The railway station and taxi rank is on your right
  • At the traffic lights next to Good Hope, turn right. The road meanders into Darling Street
  • Drive until you reach Plein Street
  • Turn left into Plein Street
  • Find parking
  • Enter via the Visitor’s Centre on the Ground Floor 120 Plein Street
  • Arrange a Tour

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