The Week Ahead: 2019 SONA Debates

June 24, 2019 (2 months, 3 weeks ago)

The Sixth Parliament is slowing kicking into gear with four plenary sittings scheduled this week.

The main events will be the joint debate on the State of the Nation Address on Tuesday as well as the President’s reply on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s session will be a marathon sitting starting at 10am and will run into the evening.

The debate is a highlight of the parliamentary calendar as all party leaders and a galaxy of heavyweight MPs take part.

The debate will follow a predictable path: the opposition will give a rebuttal to the President’s speech and attack him and the governing party for not offering new ideas. They will also highlight the government’s failures.

Spoiler: we got a preview of what the opposition will say and they are unimpressed

In return, the governing party will defend the President, as well as the government's record and proposals. They will also point out weaknesses in the opposition.

Based on past events, the proceedings will be lively and raucous, with plenty of rhetoric, political jibes and heckling. Speaker after speaker will bear their political fangs and will be reminded to confine their inputs to the debate.

View: SONA Debate February 2019

During Thursday’s plenary, the NA will elect three House Chairpersons for the duration of the body. Each has been assigned a specific function:

House Chairperson: Internal Arrangements

House Chairperson International Relations

House Chairperson Committees

Read more here

Parliament participates and has respresentation on various bodies. In keeping with this commitment, the National Assembly will elect and designate legislators to represent the intutition in the following organisations:

-Pan-African Parliament (South Africa is represented in the Pan-African Parliament by five members of Parliament)

  • Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (Parliament is represented in the SADC Parliamentary Forum by a presiding officer and five members of Parliament, one of whom must be the chairperson of the Multiparty Women’s Caucus to represent Parliament in the SADC PF Women’s Caucus. Representatives serve for a period of five years)

-Judicial Service Commission (Six members of the National Assembly are to be designated to the Judicial Services Commission by the National Assembly, at least three of whom must be members of opposition parties represented in the Assembly)

-Magistrates Commission (Four members are to be designated by the National Assembly from among its members, at least two of whom must be members of opposition parties represented in the Assembly)

The NCOP is also set to meet and elect house chairpersons.

Committee meetings will commence on 2 July. In anticipation of this, Parliament is expected to announce the committee memberships this week.

*This summary is based on the schedule as it is published on Monday morning. The programme is subject to frequent updating so the link above needs to be checked daily to confirm the programme for the day.

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