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National Budget top priority for 6th Parliament

Among the key considerations of the sixth Parliament is the national Budget that was tabled in February, says National Assembly (NA) Secretary Masibulele Xaso.

“A very important function that will have to be done in a short space of time is the consideration of the national budget, tabled in February. It was not passed by the fifth Parliament. It will now be passed by the sixth Parliament. These new members will have to consider the budget, and hopefully pass it before the end of July this year,” he said.

Xaso was speaking to SAnews on Friday at the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) as vote counting following the sixth National and Provincial Elections continued.

Xaso outlined the process that would take place in the National Assembly (NA) once the election results are declared. The commission, he said, would put names to seats in the NA.

“Once that process is done, the votes are then sent to the Chief Justice and eventually to Parliament, and that will enable Parliament to coordinate its activities for the first sittings of both the NA and National Council of Provinces (NCOP). At the first sitting of the NA, which must happen within 14 days of the declaration of results, new members must be sworn in,” he said.

The second step will be the election of office bearers, that is, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the NA. Once elected, then the House is fully constituted and can then begin to perform its Constitutional functions, including the election of the President.

Once all office bearers and the President are elected by the NA, the President will then cease to be a member of the NA.

NCOP processes 

Secretary of the NCOP Modibedi Phindela told SAnews that once the results have been declared and the list has been handed over to the Chief Justice, the provincial Legislatures will have their first sittings before the NCOP can have its own sitting. The reason behind this is that the permanent delegates of the NCOP are designated by the provincial Legislatures.

At the first sitting, members will be sworn in during a process presided over by the Chief Justice.

“After members have been sworn in, we will then proceed to elect the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, which will also be presided by the Chief Justice. Once the Chairperson has been elected, he or she will then take her seat and preside over the election of the Deputy Chairperson and other presiding officers as well as the Chief Whip,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of the NCOP, who must attend the Presidential inauguration, will sit after the NA to elect its own office bearers.

“Once that is done, then Parliament (both houses) is ready to conduct its other business, including setting up of committees,” said Phindela.

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