The first sitting of parliament sees a new breed of MP’s being sworn in. First, some drama as Jesse Duarte, one of top bra’s in the ANC (which occupies the majority of the seats) has spoken out about the lack of female premiers of the ruling party despite a promise by the ANC to have more female representatives. The ANC runs eight of the nine provinces but only the Northern Cape has a female premier. The drama continued when the DA rejected Zuma as president.
But drama may be a regular occurrence at parliament with the new comers making the house much more interesting. The EFF members, who scored 25 seats, made an entrance dressed in red and white as domestic workers . Some wore red jumpsuits with matching hard hats. Probably an indication of the rights of the people they are ‘fighting’ for. They made their mark in parliament yesterday when the refused to vote for the National Assembly Speaker.
Meanwhile Yusuf Cassim of the Democratic Alliance has set the record by becoming the youngest MP ever at only 25 years old. Even you could be an MP one day.
For those who don’t want to watch the endless proceedings, here’s what’s going down (minus the useless bits)
1) The National Assembly members are sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng. This is done in groups of 10
2) He then calls for nomination for a speaker of parliament, then follows the nomination for Deputy Speaker
3) If there is more than one nomination, then a secret ballot is held
4) They then elect the President. The floor of parliament becomes a mini election station with ballot papers and booths. MPs are called in alphabetical order. An MP may decide not to vote.
5) The newly-elected President can no longer be a member of the National Assembly
Since you elected parties to represent you in parliament, it is important to know what their duties are. This way you can call them out if they don’t toe the line.
Duties of an MP
An MP must be available to the public. He or she must help solve the problems of the community and if you want to know what happened in parliament, the MP has a duty to tell you all about it. The house of Parliament isn’t Vegas and this isn’t a college fraternity – there’s no such thing as the MP code. What happens in the red building is for the public – you have the right to know what goes on in there.
An MP must also disclose his or her financial interest and that of his or her partner.
Along with these duties come some perks:
1) Pension and medical aid
2) flights to attend parliamentary sessions
3) Free accommodation when in Cape Town for parliamentary sessions
4) Most drive very expensive cars
You’re probably wondering about the money. How much do they earn? It’s all about the Madibas’ isn’t it?
MP’s earn close to R900 000 per year – pretty decent hey?
Jacob Zuma will be formally elected as the Head of State. He will take his oath of office for the second time at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday. Zuma will announce his new cabinet on Sunday.
Images: EWN, SABC and Wikipedia
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