Fifth democratic Parliament to swear in new MPs

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pretoria - South Africa's fifth democratic Parliament will hold its first sitting this morning to swear in new MPs and formally elect a President, who will head the state.

The 400 new members of parliament representing 13 political parties will be sworn in at the National Assembly in Parliament in Cape Town - in a ceremony to be presided over by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at 10:30am.

This process is traditionally undertaken in groups of 10 and either takes the form of an oath or an affirmation.

Members must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution.

Following this, the chamber will elect a new Speaker. Once elected, the Speaker will preside over the election of the Deputy Speaker.

MPs will then elect the country's new president. While the ANC's Jacob Zuma is expected to be nominated, it remains unclear whether other parties will nominate their own presidential candidates.

Should there be a contest in the presidential election, the floor of the National Assembly will be turned into a voting station, complete with booths, ballot boxes and a secret ballot.

The President-elect will then take the oath of office at the Union Buildings on Saturday.

Saturday’s presidential inauguration falls well within the constitutional five days the President has to take the oath of office to “be faithful to the Republic of South Africa” and to “obey, observe and maintain the constitution and all other laws”.

The first sitting of the National Assembly and of the Provincial Legislatures will take place simultaneously and Judges President, the Gauteng Deputy Judges President and one Northern Cape Senior Judge have been designated by the Chief Justice to swear in or affirm into office Members of Parliament and to preside over the election of the Premiers and the Provincial Speakers in all the provincial legislatures.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice will on Thursday administer the oath or solemn affirmation to designated Members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and preside over the election of the Chairperson of the NCOP.  –

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