Parliament to get down to business after SONA

President Cyril Ramaphosa makes a point as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address in Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)
President Cyril Ramaphosa makes a point as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address in Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)

Parliament will only get down to serious business when President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on June 20.

The programme was agreed to at the first meeting of the 6th Parliament's Programming Committee on Thursday.

Next week will be used to induct MPs, while Sona will be debated on June 25, with Ramaphosa replying the next day.

Then, on June 27, the National Assembly will elect its house chairpersons and representatives to the Pan-African Parliament, South African Development Community Parliamentary Forum, Judicial Service Commission and Magistrates Commission. 

The committees will start their work on July 2. 

From July 10 to 17, the budget votes will be dealt with, culminating with the vote on the Presidency. Each department's budget will be debated in "mini-plenaries" - meaning the National Assembly will be divided into smaller groups, but the entire debate on the Presidency's budget will be held in the National Assembly (NA) and will last six hours.

Parliament will rise for a constituency period on July 29.

In a statement released on Thursday, Parliament said there were currently seven vacancies in the 400-member seat National Assembly. 

Nomvula Mokonyane, Makhosini Nkosi and Sylvia Lucas were not sworn in as MPs on May 22. Lucas was, however, elected as the deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) the following day.

The four other vacancies opened up when former ministers Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, Susan Shabangu and Nomaindia Mfeketo resigned from Parliament after not being selected to serve in the Cabinet. Ramaphosa ceased being an MP when he was sworn in as president. 

Of the current 393 MPs, 217 (55%) are men and 177 (45%) women. 

"This is a marked improvement on the NA of the fifth democratic Parliament - which had 168 (42.7%) women MPs," the statement read.

"Of the 54 designated permanent delegates of the NCOP, 53 were sworn in on May 23. The outstanding permanent delegate is Mr Mohammed Dangor from the Gauteng provincial delegation.

"Currently, NCOP permanent delegates comprise 33 (61%) men and 21 (39%) women. This, also, is a marked improvement on the 19 (35.2%) women permanent delegates in the NCOP of the fifth democratic Parliament."

Altogether, women MPs account for 44.5% of the 6th democratic Parliament (in the National Assembly and NCOP) - an improvement of about 3% on the number of women MPs in the 5th democratic Parliament, which had 187 (41.1%) women MPs and was ranked number 10 in the world in terms of women representation. 

This was out of 193 parliaments, which the world body of parliaments, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, surveyed. 

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