SA's Seventh Democratic Parliament: Transition and Establishment

Moloto Mothapo, Parliamentary spokesperson, outlined the key steps in this process and emphasized Parliament's crucial role in legislative functions and governmental accountability.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Pretoria | Updated: 03-06-2024 18:01 IST | Created: 03-06-2024 18:01 IST
SA's Seventh Democratic Parliament: Transition and Establishment
Image Credit: Wikimedia
  • Country:
  • South Africa

Following the successful conclusion of the 2024 National and Provincial Elections, South Africa now prepares for the establishment of its seventh democratic Parliament. Moloto Mothapo, Parliamentary spokesperson, outlined the key steps in this process and emphasized Parliament's crucial role in legislative functions and governmental accountability.

Transition Process and Role of Parliament

Mothapo highlighted the importance of Parliament in making legislation and holding the government accountable. With the completion of the electoral process, Parliament is now tasked with onboarding newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) and ensuring a seamless transition. Every five years, South Africans participate in elections to select representatives, marking the beginning of a new parliamentary term.

Constitutional Role of the National Assembly

As the legislative authority, the National Assembly plays a pivotal role in choosing the President, passing legislation, and overseeing the executive's actions. Mothapo noted that the National Assembly may consist of 350 to 400 members and is elected for a five-year term.

Post-Election Procedures

Election results must be declared within seven days, after which the Independent Electoral Commission designates members of the National Assembly. The Chief Justice then hands over these lists to Parliament. The first sitting of the National Assembly, presided over by the Chief Justice, must occur within 14 days of the election results being declared.

Swearing-In and Election of Officials

Before assuming their functions, MPs must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution. The Chief Justice oversees the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. Subsequently, the President of the Republic is elected by the House.

Gazetting of Rules and Procedures

The Office of the Chief Justice has officially gazetted rules for the first sittings of the National Assembly, outlining procedures for electing key parliamentary officials. These rules were approved by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo and cover the election of the President, Speaker, and Deputy Speaker.

State of the Nation Address and Opening of Parliament Address

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) and Opening of Parliament Address (OPA) serve distinct purposes. While SONA occurs annually to outline government plans and priorities, OPA occurs once every five years after elections to announce the new administration's plans. OPA marks the beginning of the new parliamentary term.

Orientation of New MPs and Venue

Newly elected MPs undergo an orientation programme covering parliamentary procedures, ethical guidelines, and legislative responsibilities. This programme prepares MPs for effective governance. The first sitting and onboarding venue has been secured at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

 

As South Africa prepares for its seventh democratic Parliament, the outlined procedures ensure a smooth transition and effective governance. The establishment of Parliament reflects the nation's commitment to democracy and constitutional governance.

 
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