June 2024 1st Edition

Plans underway for the seventh democratic Parliament

Following the successful 2024 National and Provincial Elections held recently, plans for the establishment of the country’s seventh democratic Parliament will now get into full swing.

Explaining the next step after the elections concluded, Parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said Parliament is fully prepared, and all the necessary arrangements have been made for establishing the new National Assembly.

“Comprehensive plans are in place to ensure a seamless transition,  including onboarding new Members of Parliament,” Mothapo said in a statement. 

Mothapo noted that in democratic countries such as South Africa, Parliament plays a crucial role in making legislation and holding the government to account. 

“Under a proportional representation electoral system, Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to represent the people of the country and act as their voice. Parliament,  therefore, is accountable to the people of South Africa,” Mothapo said.

Mothapo explained that every five years, the people of South Africa have the opportunity to cast their votes for a new Parliament, and each new five-year term of Parliament is numbered.

This has happened in the elections of 1994, where people voted for the first democratic Parliament. The second Parliament followed the General Elections in 1999, with the third Parliament in 2004, the fourth in 2009, with the fifth Parliament in 2014 and the sixth in 2019.

Mothapo said as the legislative authority of the democratic republic, the National Assembly must ensure a government and President chosen by the people,  providing a national forum for public consideration of issues, passing legislation, and exercising oversight over the executive’s actions.

He said the National Assembly may be constituted with no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members.
“The National Assembly is elected for a five-year term according to Section 49 of the Constitution. When the term expires or the Assembly is dissolved, the President must call an election within 90 days.

“Although the term of this Assembly expired on 21 May, it continued to function until the day before the first day of the elections, which was midnight on 28 May.

"Currently, there is no National Assembly, and the process to establish the new House has commenced,” Mothapo explained.

First sitting of the National Assembly

The first sitting of the National Assembly must occur no more than 14 days after election results are declared, and the Chief Justice of the Republic,  Raymond Zondo, will determine and gazette the date for this sitting. 

Mothapo explained that before members of the National Assembly perform their functions in the Assembly, they must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience of the Constitution, under Schedule 2 to the Constitution. 

“After the swearing-in of members, the Chief Justice presides over the election of the Speaker of the National Assembly, who must, in turn, preside over the election of the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

"The President of the Republic is the last to be elected by the House because the Assembly must be duly constituted first to exercise its power to elect the President. The Chief Justice presides over the election of the President,” Mothapo said.¥

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