10 June 2024

2024: What happens after the elections

The Constitution spells out, in section 52, that after an election, the first sitting of the National Assembly must take place at a time and date determined by the Chief Justice but not more than 14 days after the election result has been declared 

Below we outline the main steps that follow once the election results are proclaimed

FRIDAY 14 June: things really kick off post-elections when the first sitting of the National Assembly takes place. At this sitting, the Chief Justice, or another designated Judge, will preside over the swearing-in of Members of Parliament. This usually happens in the morning. Typically, groups of MPs are sworn in 10 at a time, ordered alphabetically.  They will swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution. Once Members are sworn in, office bearers will be elected.

Thereafter the Speaker will be elected by way of nomination. If more than one nomination is received for the position of Speaker, an election by secret ballot is held. Counting of the ballots is done in the presence of the Chief Justice. The results are then announced.

Once the Speaker is duly elected, nominations are invited for the position of Deputy Speaker of the NA. The newly-elected Speaker presides over this election.

Also attending the first sitting of the Seventh democratic Parliament will be diplomats and guests of the Presidency, guests of leaders and representatives of political parties in Parliament, and members of the public.

Throughout the process, the mace, which represents the Speaker’s authority, will remain upright in front of the National Assembly podium until the newly elected Speaker is escorted to the presiding officer’s chair by the sergeant-at-arms. When the mace is laid horizontally, it signals the official start of the new Parliament.

After an hour’s lunch break the House reconvenes (at 2pm) and the Chief Justice calls for the nomination of candidates for the position of President of the Republic of South Africa. Like the Speaker and Deputy Speaker process, if more than one nomination is made, an election by secret ballot is held. Counting of the ballots is done in the presence of the Chief Justice. The results are then announced in the House. The President, once elected, ceases to be a member of the NA. If more than two presidential candidates are nominated, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated until the nominee with the majority of votes remains standing. That nominee is then declared president. The President starts off as a Member of Parliament but immediately ceases to be once sworn in.

The Speaker will ask if any political parties want to make remarks and the recently elected President will also be afforded the same opportunity.

This year’s first sitting of the NA is likely to look very different in terms of the location of this first sitting. It has been confirmed the first sitting will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

The first sittings of the Provincial Legislatures are also provisionally scheduled for Friday, 14 June. The Chief Justice will, in accordance with his constitutional prerogative, announce the appropriate date in due course.  Additionally, the Chief Justice will designate the Judge Presidents of High Court Courts to preside over the first sittings of the Provincial Legislatures. Provincial Premiers, Speakers and their Deputies will be elected at these sittings, and the swearing-in of Members of the Provincial Legislatures will also take place.

Photo: News24

SATURDAY, 15 June: The first sitting of the NCOP will also be presided over by the Chief Justice and takes place the day after the first sitting of the NA. The Chief Justice will also preside over the election of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, who is selected from the permanent delegates. The Chairperson will then preside over the election of the Deputy Chairperson, House Chairpersons and Chief Whip.

The provincial legislatures must determine their permanent delegations to the NCOP within 30 days from the declaration of the election results. The composition of an NCOP permanent delegation depends on the representation of political parties in a provincial legislature. Each provincial legislature will decide on their 6 permanent delegates to the NCOP along with deciding on the names of four special delegates.

TO BE ANNOUNCED: The President will determine the date for the inauguration. The President must take up office within five days of being elected. The President will, in terms of the Joint Rules of Parliament, also proclaim a date for the Opening of Parliament (referred to as 2nd SONA).

The inauguration is typically held at the Union Buildings but in 2019, President Ramaphosa broke with tradition and was inaugurated at Loftus Versfeld rugby stadium to “allow for greater public participation”.

The venue and theme of the President’s inauguration will follow. Aside from members of the public, it is expected that Heads of State and royalty from a number of countries will attend, as well as religious representatives, political parties, and representatives from regional, continental and international organisations and bodies such as the Southern African Development Community, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).

The President is expected to appoint a Deputy President and Ministers to constitute his or her Cabinet soon thereafter. In addition, Deputy Ministers. All will be selected from the Members of the National Assembly although no more than two Ministers can be appointed from outside the National Assembly

June 2024: Although not exactly the same as the State of the Nation Address (SONA), there will be another Opening of Parliament. The President will use the opportunity to set out the focus and plans for the new administration.

The Seventh Parliament will start to establish its committees in the weeks following the first sittings of the NA and NCOP

Establishment of structures: After the first sitting (and indeed after inauguration and determination of government portfolios), the Assembly Rules Committee must establish the structures, as well as make other determinations, necessary for the Assembly to function.   This would include determination of committees, the formula for whips, the speaking time for debates etc.

The programme and lapsed business: The Joint Programme Committee will also be required to agree on a programme for the first term of the new Parliament. In terms of Parliament’s Rules, business before a Parliament lapses when the term of that Parliament ends, or when Parliament is dissolved. When a bill or another matter lapses, the new Assembly can, by way of a motion in the House, revive the matter. Such motions sometimes state that the matter be revised “from the stage it reached on the last sitting day of the House (of the previous House)….” As was the case in previous Parliaments, the Appropriation Bill, as part of the national budget, lapsed, and needs to be revived so that the budget can be passed by the July deadline.







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People's Assembly

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