Parliament, Monday, The handover of name lists of Members of the National Assembly (NA) and Provincial Legislatures by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng last Wednesday has paved the way for establishing the Sixth Democratic Parliament this month.
The first sittings of the two Houses of Parliament � The National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will be on 22 and 23 May respectively, as duly declared by the Chief Justice.
The NA will have 400 members represented from 14 political parties whilst the NCOP will be composed of 10 permanent and non-permanent delegates from each of the nine provinces. Four of them are special delegates and six are permanent delegates. Political parties are entitled to delegates in line with their share of seats in the provincial legislatures. When a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) is appointed as a permanent delegate to the NCOP, he or she ceases to be a member of that provincial legislature.
The sitting of the National Assembly on 22 May will commence with the ceremonial procession. The Chief Justice, the Acting Secretary to Parliament and Secretary to the National Assembly will be led by the Serjeant-at-Arms into the National Assembly Chamber.
At this sitting, the Chief Justice will preside over the swearing-in of the designated Members of Parliament who would choose to either take the oath or affirmation. This can be done in any of the 11 official languages of the country.
After all members have been sworn in, the Chief Justice presides over the election of the Speaker of the National Assembly. The Chief Justice calls for nominations for the position of Speaker from amongst the Members of the National Assembly. If more than one nomination is received, the Chief Justice conducts a secret ballot election. The newly elected Speaker would follow the same procedure when presiding over election of the Deputy Speaker.
At the conclusion of the election of the Presiding Officers, the Chief Justice again takes over and presides over the election of the President.
The Chief Justice has also designated the Judges President of the Divisions of the High Court to preside over the first sittings of the Provincial Legislatures that will run concurrently with the National Assembly session. Members of the provincial legislatures will be sworn-in and Premiers and Speakers will be elected at these sitting.
The following day, 23 May, the first sitting of the NCOP will be presided over by the Chief Justice. The Usher of the Black Rod will announce the Chief Justice as he enters the NCOP Chamber to preside over the swearing-in or affirmation of faithfulness to the Republic of South Africa and obedience to the Constitution from the House's permanent delegates.
At this sitting, the Chief Justice will also preside over the election of the Chairperson of the NCOP from among the permanent delegates. If more than one candidate is nominated, a vote must be taken by secret ballot, at which each province present may cast one vote. The Chairperson will then preside over the election of the Deputy Chairperson, House Chairpersons and the Chief Whip of the NCOP.
The President elect will be inaugurated on the 25 May as President of the Republic of South Africa and head of state.
Once these processes have been completed, the NA and the NCOP will establish their governance structures to undertake their normal roles, responsibilities and duties.
The President is expected to deliver the State of the Nation Address to a Joint Sitting of the NA and the NCOP to officially open the sixth democratic Parliament on the provisionally scheduled date of 20 June 2019.