Parliament says it is ready to welcome a new cohort of Members of the National Assembly (NA) and National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
This as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) declared the results of the sixth National and Provincial Elections on Saturday evening.
“Following months of intense preparations for the establishment of the sixth democratic Parliament, Parliament is ready to welcome new Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces,” Parliament said.
According to the Constitution of South Africa, both Houses of Parliament must be established within 14 days of the IEC’s declaring results of the election, and this takes place at the first sitting of each of these Houses.
Parliament explained that the Chief of South Africa has the powers, under the Constitution, to determine the dates and times of these first sittings and presides over key aspects of them.
The first sitting of the NA is provisionally scheduled for 22 May and that of the NCOP for 23 May. These dates, however, are subject to an official announcement by the Chief Justice.
The House may be constituted of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members.
During the NCOP’s first sitting, the Chief Justice will preside over the swearing in or affirmation of faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution from the House’s permanent delegates.
He will then also preside over the election of the Chairperson of the NCOP, who is selected from the permanent delegates. As with the National Assembly, the NCOP Chairperson will then preside over election of the Deputy Chairperson, House Chairpersons and the Chief Whip.
Prior to the first sitting of the NCOP taking place, each of the Provincial Legislatures must have held their first sittings and sworn in their Members.
Thereafter, the provincial legislatures must appoint their permanent delegates to the NCOP (10 delegates from each province). Four of the ten delegates are special delegates and six are permanent delegates.
Upon conclusion of these processes and various other logistical arrangements involving the three arms of State, the newly elected President is expected to deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the Sixth Democratic Parliament to a joint sitting of both Houses.