Parliament ready for National Assembly sitting

Secretary to Parliament, Xolile George, has described the first sittings of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) as a reflection of the electoral mandate of the people of South Africa, as expressed in the recent elections.

‘The people have spoken. They have chosen a Parliament that will represent them, as freely elected representatives as reflected in the preamble of the Constitution, to champion their causes, and serve their interests for the next five years,’ he said on Thursday.

George held a media briefing on Thursday as Parliament gears up to host the first sittings of the two Houses of Parliament scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Tomorrow’s proceedings will also see Members of Parliament (MPs) electing a President who will form the seventh administration to govern the nation.

‘Over the past months, the administration of Parliament has undertaken extensive preparatory work to ensure a seamless transition from the sixth term to the seventh term of Parliament. This h
as been a pivotal moment for us as a nation, involving a delicate constitutional process that has not been without its challenges.’

He touched on the challenges they have had to overcome such as court challenges to ensure the success of these important inaugural sittings of the two Houses of Parliament.

‘This collective effort underscores our commitment to upholding the democratic principles underpinning our Constitution and ensuring that the will of the people is effectively translated into action.

‘With each step in this constitutional process having been meticulously followed and adhered to, we now stand at the cusp of yet another critical milestone in the history of our constitutional democracy.’

George explained that it was the Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s responsibility to determine the dates for the first sittings of both Houses to preside over these sittings.

‘Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has diligently complied with these constitutional obligations, ensuring that the two Houses of Parliament hol
d their first sittings within the prescribed 14-day period as mandated by the Constitution.’

The Secretary announced that the inaugural sittings will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Parliamentary process

The Chief Justice will open the session and preside over the swearing-in of all the permanent delegates appointed by their respective provinces.

‘This will follow the first sittings of the provincial legislatures to elect permanent and non-permanent delegates to the NCOP.

‘After presiding over the swearing-in of the 54 designated permanent delegates, the Chief Justice will also chair the election of the Chairperson of the Council.’

Once elected, the new Chairperson will take over the proceedings and preside over the election of the Deputy Chairpersons.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, Chief Justice Zondo will also preside over the election of the Speaker of the NA and then he or she will take over the proceedings and preside over the election of the Deputy Speake

‘These elections are crucial for the proper constitution of the National Assembly, as they ensure the leadership structure is in place to guide the House’s functions and duties.’

Once the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected, George explained that the NA will then be constitutionally competent to proceed with electing a Member of the Assembly to be inaugurated as the President.

‘This is a crucial process, as it sets the stage for the formation of the new administration that will govern the country. Once elected, the person ceases to be a Member of Parliament.’

George has assured citizens that all necessary voting infrastructure has been meticulously prepared to ensure a smooth and secure election process.

This includes the setup of voting booths for privacy, the provision of ballot boxes for the collection of votes, the preparation of the voters’ roll to verify eligible voters, and the availability of safety boxes for the secure safekeeping of ballot papers.

‘We are fully prepared for the first sit
tings … Our comprehensive preparations ensure that every aspect of these inaugural sessions, from logistical arrangements to security measures, have been meticulously planned and implemented.

‘We are confident that the proceedings will unfold smoothly and effectively, marking the successful commencement of the 7th democratic Parliament,’ said George.

Source: South African Government News Agency