/ 6 January 2009

DA proposes renaming Parliament building after Suzman

Parliament’s Marks Building, long the home of opposition parties within the parliamentary complex in Cape Town, should be renamed the Helen Suzman Building, the Democratic Alliance (DA) proposed on Tuesday.

This would be a fitting way to honour Suzman’s legacy, DA leader Helen Zille told journalists at a media briefing held in the party’s Helen Suzman Caucus Room in the building.

It would be an ”appropriate way to commemorate publicly her contribution towards building a non-racial society based on constitutional democracy”, she said.

Suzman died on New Year’s Day at the age of 91, and was buried last Sunday in Johannesburg.

Zille said she had written to the Speaker of Parliament, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, asking her to place the proposal to commemorate Suzman on the agenda of the next meeting of the Parliamentary Oversight Authority.

The DA would also like to see Suzman’s portrait — taken down in Parliament in 1994, and now hanging in the party’s caucus room – put back in a prominent position within the complex.

Zille said the proposal to rename the Marks Building was supported by Suzman’s family.

The Marks Building is named after Sammy Marks, an industrialist and financier who served as a senator in the first Union parliament. He died in 1920.

Zille said Suzman was someone who belonged to the nation and not any particular political party.

”We think we owe it to her to do something to honour her legacy,” she said. — Sapa