MPs, executive urged to put SA first
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has urged incoming members of Parliament (MPs), Provincial Legislatures (MPLs) and the executive to work towards undoing the injustices of the past and not seek self-preservation.
Mogoeng made the remark on Wednesday during the receipt of the list of 830 names that will be sworn into office in the different legislatures across the country on 22 May. Upon receipt, Mogoeng handed over the lists to the acting secretary of Parliament, Penelope Tyawa.
“I can only hope that none of those to whom oaths will be administered will see that exercise as just one of those inconvenient processes have to go through, itching to occupy an office,” he said.
During the handover, the IEC revealed that the list of 400 elected MPs and 430 elected MPLs was drawn from the national, regional and provincial candidate lists submitted by contesting political parties as part of the election timetable in March 2019.
The country, Mogoeng said, needed a parliament and legislatures that hold the executive accountable and an executive that carries out its constitutional and statutory responsibilities.
South Africans, the Chief Justice added, should be on high alert in the quest to hold public officer bearers to account.
“They must be more vigilant than ever before to expose manipulation of functionaries in state institutions to get us out of these problems of which we find ourselves trapped in. If there is one thing we must be alert to, it is that power is dangerous. Once you have it, it pushes you to control everybody else as you please,” he said.
He added that it is of cardinal importance that the unresolved issues that constitute an integral part of the injustices of the past be recognised at all times and receive urgent attention.
“We over celebrate the power we have. We are too protective of our positions and some, possibly, get tempted to use state resources for purposes they were never intended for. Let’s sharpen our focus on what matters the most,” he said.
Injustice is unsustainable, he said, adding that should it be left lingering on, “you defer the hopes encapsulated in the preamble of our constitution at the risk of allowing a crisis to come into being”.
Swearing in of MPs
During the event, the Chief Justice announced that the swearing in of MPs would take place on 22 May. At the same sitting, the Speaker of Parliament and President would also be elected.
According to the Constitution, these representatives must be sworn into office by taking an oath or affirmation before the Chief Justice. The first sitting of Parliament must take place at a date and time determined by the Chief Justice but not more than 14 days after the announcement of the results of an election.
Handing over the lists, IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said the demographic statistics for the representatives show an improvement in gender representivity from the 2014 elections.
Of the 400 MPs, 45.25% are women compared to 42% in 2014. The provincial legislature with the best gender representivity is Mpumalanga where half of the members will be women.
“The provincial legislature with the lowest gender representivity is the Western Cape where just 35.71% of representatives are women,” he said.
The average age of the Members of Parliament is 50-years-old – the same as the average age in 2014.
The oldest Member of Parliament will be the Honourable leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Dr Mangosothu Buthelezi, at 90-years-old. The youngest Member of Parliament will be 23-year-old Sibongiseni Ngcobo of the Democratic Alliance.
Karabo Khakhau, 21, will be the youngest member of a provincial legislature, in the Free State.