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SA: Xolile George: Address by Secretary to Parliament, during the occasion of the receipt of the candidates list from the Chief Justice (06/06/24)


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SA: Xolile George: Address by Secretary to Parliament, during the occasion of the receipt of the candidates list from the Chief Justice (06/06/24)

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Secretary to Parliament Xolile George

7th June 2024


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The Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo,

The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr Amos Masondo,


The former Acting Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli,

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mr Mosotho Moepya,


The Judges President,

General Secretary of the Office of the Chief Justice, 

Secretaries to the two Houses of Parliament,

Secretaries to the Provincial Legislatures, and

Ladies and gentlemen of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I stand before you today deeply honoured and with profound gratitude. This moment marks a significant milestone in our democratic journey, and it is only fitting that we recognise and appreciate the individuals and institutions that have made this possible.
Allow me to express my sincere appreciation to Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Your steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment have ensured the swift and timely handover of the lists of designated National Assembly members. Your office has managed this delicate constitutional process with precision and integrity, arranging this significant occasion seamlessly. Your dedication to upholding the rule of law and ensuring the smooth transition of power is commendable.
Thank you for your exemplary dedication and for steering this process with such diligence and respect for our democratic principles.
I would also like to extend heartfelt congratulations to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). Conducting free and fair elections is no small feat, and you have done so with unparalleled excellence. Your world-class systems have empowered millions of South Africans to express their democratic choices. It is through your tireless efforts that our citizens could vote with confidence, knowing their voices would be heard and their decisions respected. Your commitment to transparency, efficiency, and fairness has once again reinforced the integrity of our electoral process.
I offer my deepest gratitude to the over 16 million eligible voters who participated in these elections. Despite facing challenging weather conditions at times, you demonstrated remarkable patience and resilience. Your participation in this highly contested and historic election – marking the 30th anniversary of our constitutional democracy – is a testament to your commitment to shaping the future of our nation. Your decisions have determined who will represent you in Parliament, and it is now our responsibility to ensure that the new Parliament carries your aspirations and hopes for a better future.
At the end of the sixth parliamentary term, a notable 45% of the National Assembly's MPs were women, totalling 181 female representatives. This strong presence of women was evident from the beginning of the term when 179 women were sworn in as members of the National Assembly. Throughout this period, our Parliament consistently ranked within the top 10 of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) rankings for world parliaments with the highest representation of women, underscoring our commitment to gender equality and inclusive governance.

While the list that we are receiving today might still change at some stage consistent with our laws and procedures, our initial assessment indicates that in this list, female representation experienced a slight decline, dropping from 45% in 2019 to approximately 43.5%, with a total of 174 elected members who are women. Despite this decrease, the National Assembly remains dedicated to advancing gender parity and continues to be a significant player on the global stage for its efforts in promoting women's representation in politics.
It is also worth noting that this National Assembly list boasts a significant representation of young people, with nearly 50% of its members falling within the 20 to 50-year age cohort. This demographic shift is a positive development, aligning the Assembly more closely with the population where young people form the majority. Such a youthful composition is expected to bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a dynamic approach to addressing the challenges and aspirations of our society, ensuring that the legislative body remains attuned to the needs and ambitions of the younger generation.
Now, as we move forward from this pivotal moment, it is essential to outline the administrative process that will follow this handover. Once the Chief Justice has determined the date of the first sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), we will activate all necessary arrangements. This entails ensuring that elected members are received from various parts of the country, that they are onboarded efficiently, their details captured accurately, and they are adequately prepared for the first sittings. This comprehensive onboarding process includes orientation sessions to familiarise new members with parliamentary procedures, protocols, and their roles and responsibilities.
We have a well-coordinated plan in place to facilitate the smooth transition of new members into their parliamentary roles. This includes logistical arrangements to accommodate members traveling from distant regions, providing them with the necessary resources and support to hit the ground running. Our goal is to ensure that every member is equipped to contribute effectively from the outset, embodying the trust and mandate bestowed upon them by the electorate.
In preparation for the first sittings, we have also ensured that all systems are in place for the successful hosting of these critical sessions. This includes establishing a robust voting infrastructure to facilitate the seamless execution of the elections for the new Presiding Officers and the President of the Republic. We have also taken measures to ensure the security, transparency, and integrity of these processes, adhering to the highest standards of parliamentary procedure.
Newly elected Members of Parliament will be inducted and oriented through a structured orientation programme designed to equip them with the essential knowledge and skills required for their roles. This programme typically includes briefings on parliamentary procedures, ethical guidelines, legislative responsibilities, and administrative processes. In addition, new MPs participate in training sessions focused on effective communication, law-making, and constituency management. This comprehensive approach ensures that new MPs are well-prepared to fulfill their duties effectively and efficiently from the outset.

For the first sitting of both Houses, Parliament has made all necessary arrangements to ensure a smooth transition. The venue for this significant event, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), has been secured, providing an ideal setting for onboarding the new Members of Parliament. Detailed plans are in place to facilitate this process, ensuring that all logistical and administrative aspects are handled seamlessly.
Chief Justice, I assure you and all South Africans, that we are fully prepared to meet the challenges and responsibilities that lie ahead. Our commitment is to uphold the values of our democracy, to serve the people of South Africa with dedication, and to ensure that their electoral choices are voiced in their Parliament for the next five years.
Thank you once again for your trust and support. Together, we will build a Parliament that truly represents the voices and choices of the people of South Africa, driving forward our collective aspirations for a prosperous and just future.
Thank you.


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