Jovial mood prevails as members are sworn-in

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pretoria - There's a jovial mood prevailing in Parliament, as the swearing in of 400 members by Chief Justice Pius Langa continues.

Parliament's National Assembly (NA) is meeting for the first time to swear-in its new members, elect its Presiding Officers and elect the President of the Republic.

The proceedings began with prayers and the singing of the national anthem. Thereafter, members of the National Assembly began taking the oath or the solemn affirmation.

Once all 400 members are sworn-in, the Presiding Officer will declare that the National Assembly has been convened in terms of section 51(1) of the Constitution and will request the Returning Officer to read out the notice convening the meeting.

African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma, dressed in a black suite, crisp white shirt and black and yellow striped tie, was among the first group of ten to take the oath of affirmation. The group consisted of the top ten members on the ANC list, with the exception of the current President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Mr Motlanthe will remain President of the Republic until the new President assumes office on 9 May. He could not be sworn in today as an MP, as in terms of Section 87 of the Constitution, the President cannot be a Member of Parliament.

Mr Zuma is expected to be elected President of South Africa this afternoon.

The members stood in front of Justice Langa, and with raised hands recited the oath, ending with "So help me God".

The first task of the newly sworn-in Members of Parliament would be to elect the Speaker of Parliament and the Deputy Speaker.

The Presiding Officer will call for nominations of candidates for election as Speaker. This will be followed by the Presiding Officer announcing the names of the persons duly nominated.

Thereafter, the Serjeant-at-Arms conducts the Speaker to the Chair. The Speaker will then express his or her sense of the honour conferred upon him or her.

The same will apply with the election of a Deputy Speaker.

This afternoon, when proceedings resume, Members of Parliament will elect the President of the Republic of South Africa.