New President to be sworn in this afternoon

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The new President of the country will be sworn in at 2pm today. This follows the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday night.

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa confers the powers to appoint and remove the President of the Republic of South Africa on the National Assembly. 

The President is elected in terms of Section 86 of the Constitution. His or her term of office begins on assuming office and ends upon a vacancy occurring or when the person next elected President resumes office.

After Zuma resigned, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa automatically became acting president of the Republic in accordance with Section 90 of the Constitution.

Section 90 states that when there is a vacancy in the office of president, the first person in line to act as president is the deputy president.

At a meeting of Parliament’s Joint Programming Committee on Thursday morning, ANC’s Parliamentary caucus Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said following the resignation of the former President, the swearing in of the new President would be brought forward from Friday morning to Thursday afternoon.

“We received communication from the Speaker [Baleka Mbete] that she has communicated with the Office of the Chief Justice and the Office of the Chief Justice has made itself available today to officiate in the business of electing a new president. As we all know, President Jacob Zuma has resigned and then there is a need for Parliament to elect a new President.

“We had put that programme of electing a new President in our programme of the National Assembly for tomorrow morning. If we then make this sitting of today which was supposed to be dealing with the motion of no confidence to elect the new President, then we have an opening tomorrow...”

Meanwhile, the meeting agreed that the newly sworn-in President will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) tomorrow at 7pm.

Deputy Secretary to Parliament Baby Tyawa said the SONA plan had been activated and communication had been sent out to all invited guests and that arrangements related to all logistics were being rolled out.

“It is all systems go,” she said.

According to Parliament, the following events are to take place in the coming days:

  • Joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces at 7pm on Friday, 16 February, for the President to deliver the 2018 State of the Nation Address;
  • Joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on Monday, 19 February, to debate the President’s State of the Nation Address;
  • Reply by the President to the debate on Tuesday, 20 February; and
  • Budget Speech at 2pm on 21 February.

Parliament says plans are already underway with finalising preparations, which were already at an advanced stage, to realise a successful SONA ceremony on Friday.

This includes contacting all guests to inform them of the new date and to finalise their accreditation process.

The Presiding Officers of Parliament once again extend appreciation to all South Africans for their patience, understanding and admirable sense of patriotism during this critical period in the country. –

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