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2023 year-end statement of Parliament


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2023 year-end statement of Parliament

18th December 2023


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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by


The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa has consistently shown a steadfast commitment to its constitutional mandates, navigating a year characterised by significant advancements and challenges amid complex domestic and global socio-economic scenarios, as well as intricate geopolitical dynamics. In its rigorous pursuit of effective oversight, its engagement in comprehensive legislative work, robust public participation, and strategic international collaborations, Parliament has not only advanced but also enriched the democratic tenets fundamental to our constitutional democracy. This report highlights the key performance areas of Parliament’s constitutional functions and showcases its proactive role in shaping a responsive and accountable government that resonates with the aspirations and needs of South Africans.



Parliament exercises oversight over the executive through various means including, posing questions on service delivery issues to the President and Cabinet, undertaking physical oversight visits to assess progress on government programmes, and summoning government officials to Parliament to account on the work they do.


The bulk of the work that Parliament undertakes is conducted by the various committees of the two Houses, regarded collectively as the engine that propels the work of Parliament.Committees are where bills are processed, and oversight visits are undertaken and reports on government programmes are discussed extensively. Here, Members of Parliament have an opportunity to dissect matters that affect citizens in depth. A total of 898 physical, virtual and hybrid committee meetings were held from April to November.

Oversight visits

A total of 19 oversight visits were conducted by various parliamentary committees from April to November.

These oversight visits undertaken by parliamentary committees underscore the crucial role they play in addressing key issues that impact the advancement of the National Development Plan's priorities, as well as in alleviating poverty, unemployment, and inequality. By identifying challenges, promoting transparency, and fostering cooperation, these visits serve as indispensable tools in advancing the nation's development goals and enhancing the well-being of its citizens.

Through these oversight visits, committees diligently monitored the government's progress in meeting service delivery imperatives. Following each oversight visit, a comprehensive report was generated, recommending corrective measures to expedite implementation.

Questions on service delivery issues

Quantifying the executive's responsiveness, including their rate of response to questions in both Houses, is vital for the functioning of democratic governance and Parliament's mission to exercise effective oversight. The tracking of replies to questions is essential to ensure that the President and his Cabinet remain accountable to Parliament and the citizens they serve. This process also allows Parliament to assess the effectiveness of its mechanisms in bringing about positive changes in the lives of South Africans.

The parliamentary question procedure stands as one of the key tools of oversight, providing a means to hold the executive branch accountable.

In the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), a total of 845 questions, including both oral and written, were directed to the executive during the review period. All oral questions have received responses, with only 17 questions awaiting replies, and these are still within the prescribed response period according to the Council rules.

In the National Assembly (NA) this year, out of a total of 4226 written questions directed at the executive, 3 671 had received responses by 7 December. An additional 323 questions were due for reply by the end of business on 8 December. It's worth noting that questions left unanswered after 9 January 2024 will lapse according to NA Rule 135. Regarding the 380 oral questions directed at the executive, 320 have been responded to.

To address the issue of unanswered questions, the Speaker has written to the Leader of Government Business, requesting a meeting to discuss the number of outstanding questions and strategies to ensure that Cabinet members comply with Rule 143(1) for oral questions and Rule 145(5) for written questions specifying response times. This request follows quarterly letters to Ministers, as part of the system established by Rule 136, which informs the Leader of Government Business of any Cabinet members who delay in answering parliamentary questions. The Speaker's communications on this matter have been published in the Announcements Tablings and Committee (ATC) Reports.


Parliamentary debates are an essential part of scrutinising government actions, proposing solutions, and holding the executive to account, thereby ensuring that legislation and policies are well-informed, responsive to societal challenges, and aligned with the aspirations of the nation.

This year, the National Assembly held a total of 118 debates in either hybrid plenary sessions, hybrid mini-plenary sessions, or fully virtual mini-plenary sessions.

These plenaries dealt with, among other matters, budget vote debates in respect of the Appropriation Bill, bills for first and second reading, matters of urgent national importance, members’ motions, and reports emanating from committees.

House Resolutions

As part of exercising its legislative and oversight function, the National Assembly approved several reports containingproposed resolutions requiring responses from the executive.The resolutions deal with a range of service delivery issues investigated and witnessed by members in the communities they visited. 

These resolutions have been communicated to the executive to act, and such action is followed up consistently in oversight engagement between the committee and the relevant department. 

Five petitions processed

Parliament is committed to being responsive to the needs of the public. Any person, group of persons or organisation has the right to petition Parliament or submit an unsolicited public submission seeking redress or relief of some kind. While petitions must be lodged by a Member of Parliament, unsolicited public submissions do not need to be lodged by a member. In both instances, these are referred to a relevant portfolio committee for consideration and report to the NA or the NCOP. Five petitions were received and concluded in both Houses from April to 30 November.

NCOP Provincial Week

The NCOP successfully held its flagship Provincial Week from 11 to 15 September and members engaged in extensive inspection of service delivery points across all nine provinces. The theme for the week-long oversight programme was “Building Viable Provincial and Municipal Infrastructure for Effective Delivery of Services to Communities”.

The NCOP delegates, together with their provincial legislature counterparts, spent the week conducting oversight visits to infrastructure projects, including bulk water supply plants, road upgrades, and water treatment plants.


Parliament’s legislative work undertaken this year is indicative of ongoing efforts to meet the aspirations and address the challenges faced by the people of South Africa.

Over this year, Parliament introduced a total of 43 bills (up from 34 in the previous year), increasing the total number of bills under Parliament’s consideration to 56. These legislative proposals span a wide range of issues, reflecting the responsive nature of our legislative process to the evolving needs of our country, including addressing issues raised in the State Capture Commission report.

As of December, 24 of these bills have successfully gone through rigorous parliamentary procedures and have been passed by Parliament. Furthermore, a total of 10 bills have been assented to and signed into law by the President during this year.


65 public hearings held

Parliament continued to offer opportunities for meaningful public involvement in law-making through public hearings. 

Several committees held about 65 public hearings across the nine provinces (between July and September alone) on key pieces of legislation, including the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill, the Climate Change Bill, the Older Persons Amendment Bill, the South African Post Office Amendment Bill, the Independent Municipal Demarcation Bill, the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill and the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill.

The number of public hearings held during this term serves as an indication of Parliament’s commitment to democracy, transparency and inclusivity in the law-making process. These hearings play a critical role in enabling Parliament to be more responsive to the needs of the people and, in turn, enhance its oversight role. By actively engaging South Africans in the law-making process, Parliament is ensuring that the pieces of legislation it passes are representative and aligned with the aspirations of the people parliamentarians represent and serve.

Other bills that went through a public participation process this year include the Railway Safety Bill, the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, the Upstream Petroleum Bill, the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, the National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill, and the Older Persons Amendment Bill.


Significant milestones have been achieved in the Parliament restoration project following the 2022 fire incident that devastated the chamber of the National Assembly and hundreds of offices along with their contents. To date, 155 new offices on the 4th and 5th floors at 90 Plein Street have been created through the intensive refurbishment project, ensuring the physical return of Members of Parliament to Parliament. 

In the damaged buildings, rubble removal, asset verification, and the removal of office contents are now complete after months of intensive work. To ensure the restoration of the damaged buildings proceeds without weather disruptions, the contractors have finished installing a temporary roof on the Old Assembly building.

The actual rebuilding work is scheduled to commence in early 2024, preceded by the demolition of severely fire-affected sections of the damaged building. Stage 2 design concepts have been finalized to ensure compliance with National Building Regulations and to introduce green building concepts beyond restoration work. The process for the heritage permit application is underway, including stakeholder engagements.

The pre-qualification of contractors has commenced, which will expedite the procurement process once detailed designs and documentation are complete. These designs will seize the opportunity to promote open and easy access to the Parliament Precinct, create an environment conducive to professionalism and teamwork, and integrate the rich diversity of South African culture.


Participation in bilateral and multilateral engagements plays a pivotal role in Parliament's commitment to international cooperation while simultaneously advancing its objectives of oversight, parliamentary diplomacy, and the promotion of national interests on the global stage. 

Parliament has achieved significant milestones in this regard,through active involvement in a range of international engagements, including hosting the 9th BRICS Parliamentary Forum, participation in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), engagements in the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), contributing in the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, theCOP28, and study tours.

We are confident that the BRICS Parliamentary Forum discussions and agreements, which followed the successful hosting of the BRICS in Sandton, have opened doors to economic opportunities, increased trade and investment, potentially boosting economic growth and creating job opportunities for the people.

Our participation in the SADC Parliamentary Forum is important to regional stability and security. By actively participating in discussions on food security and youth unemployment, Parliament influenced policies that address these critical issues, fostering stability and prosperity within the region.

Through participation in international forums like the IPU and COP28, Parliament had a platform to address global challenges such as conflicts, climate change, and humanitarian crises. Parliament played a role in shaping global solutions to these pressing issues, including the Palestine-Israel and Ukraine-Russia issues. Parliament’s involvement in international organisations reinforced its commitment to democratic principles and human rights, and promoted democracy, transparency, and accountability in the global community.

Parliament continued to participate in the IPU Assemblies, including contributing essential insights and proposed solutions to the Russia/Ukraine conflict and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid the Israel/Palestine conflict. Parliament's active participation in the IPU, including through the Speaker’s role in the IPU Task Force on Ukraine and Russia,demonstrated its dedication to addressing global challenges through diplomacy and cooperation.

The study tours have provided Parliament with valuable insights and best practices, which it can use to improve its oversight functions. By learning from global experiences, Parliament is enabled to hold the executive accountable more effectively, ensuring that government actions align with the needs of the citizens.


President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially requested the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to convene a Joint Sitting of the two Houses for the State of the Nation Address, scheduled for Thursday, 8 February 2024 at 19:00. As preparations for this key event on the parliamentary calendar progress, the significance of the upcoming year resonates deeply within the nation’s collective memory.

Parliament is poised to host two significant State of the Nation Addresses (SONA), with the second one scheduled after the elections. This occasion will be particularly momentous as South Africa celebrates the 30th anniversary of its democracy, commemorating three decades since the historic first democratic elections of 1994. This landmark year symbolises the South African people's triumph over centuries of colonialism and apartheid, marking a significant shift in the nation's history.

The year 2024 also marks the 30th anniversary of our democratically-elected Parliament, underscoring the resilience and evolution of South Africa's legislative body. As we prepare to inaugurate the 7th democratically elected Parliament following the elections, efforts are being made to welcome new Members of Parliament. This includes adjusting and aligning our internal procedures, processes and systems, where appropriate, with the Electoral Amendment Act of 2023.

As we approach the end of the current year and look towards these significant milestones, Parliament extends heartfelt wishes for a peaceful and joyous festive season to all South Africans. The anniversary year ahead serves as a reminder of our journey toward a more inclusive and democratic society, celebrating the achievements of the past while forging ahead toward a future of continued progress and unity.


Issued by Parliament of South Africa 





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