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Parties running out of time for National Assembly, experts warn


“What South Africans need right now is a working government in place that will put their interest first.”

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EXPERTS have raised concerns about political parties’ slow pace of forming a coalition to govern, warning that time is not on their side.

According to the office of Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the inaugural session of the National Assembly will take place this Friday, June 14.

The members of the National Assembly will be sworn in and the Speaker and deputy Speaker will be elected.

At that sitting of the National Assembly, Members of Parliament must also elect the president.

After the National Assembly sitting, provincial legislatures will sit in the nine provinces to elect premiers.

The Constitution stipulates that the first sitting of a provincial legislature must take place at a time and on a date determined by a judge designated by the president of the Constitutional Court, but not more than 14 days after the election result has been declared.

The results of this year’s general elections, in which no political party emerged as an outright winner, mean the country will be governed by a coalition government.

The ANC in KZN lost its majority to the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) led by former president Jacob Zuma.

Political analyst Imraan Buccus believes the parties have to speed up the coalition process before the National Assembly sitting on Friday. Buccus said the government of national unity (GNU) announced by the ANC could prove to be the best government for the country.

“Time is of the essence, but the political parties involved should do things correctly. I believe the parties can make it work within the time frame provided because we have seen reports that the ANC and DA are making good progress regarding the coalition talks, even though the MKP is not part of it. However, my gut tells me the sitting will be this Friday afternoon as per the requirement.

“The president also has to be sworn-in.”

Professor PS Reddy, a public governance expert at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership, said things are moving at a snail’s pace and parties do not have much time before the National Assembly convenes.

“At the moment the parties have to move at a faster pace, but first they need to have a common ground and understanding. There are many issues that need to be addressed, like the MK Party’s urgent interdict to prohibit Parliament from proceeding with the swearing in of new MPs, because they want a recount.

“And if you look at the NGU, it looks good on paper, but will it be practical? Will 18 parties agree to work together?

“What South Africans need right now is a working government in place that will put their interest first. The most important thing is a working government that will solve socio-economic issues for citizens,” Reddy said.

Political analyst Professor Zwelinzima Ndevu from the University of Stellenbosch said things will be complicated because no party received a majority of votes.

“Look at the MK, they are interdicting Parliament proceedings. On the other hand, other parties have not agreed to that GNU. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the next few days. What is really important is for parties to prioritise the citizens who elected them,” Ndevu said.

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