Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane elected unopposed as Chair of NCOP

The African National Congress’s Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane was elected unopposed as the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Saturday.

The newly-elected Chairperson vowed to execute the obligations of her Office in accordance with the Constitution.

This morning, delegates from nine provinces were sworn in at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) at the first sitting of the NCOP since the General Election in May.

In the first sitting of the National Assembly (NA) on Friday, new Members of Parliament (MPs) took the oath and affirmation. This session also saw the election of Speaker Thoko Didiza and the re-election of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who presided over the proceedings, also administered the prescribed oath and affirmation to the NCOP members and presided over the election of the NCOP Chairperson.

Mtsweni-Tsipane, who is the outing Premier of Mpumalanga, emphasised the need for transformative leadership, women’s inclusion, and progress
ive governance in the provinces.

‘It is with great humility and a deep resolve to honour your trust that I assume the position of Chairperson in the National Council of Provinces during the seventh parliamentary dispensation.

‘It is indeed an honour for me to serve our Constitution, which is the base framework for democratic governance in South Africa, far from being purely prescriptive and constraining. Our Constitution is permissive and enabling, putting the power of the State in pursuit of a positive project of achieving equality, justice and freedom,’ she told the House.

Since its inception, she said the NCOP has always played an important role in the promotion of the principles of cooperative governance and inter-governmental relations.

‘The NCOP will need to address the uncertainty which is rife around the status of intergovernmental relations, decisions and recommendations. We must also address issues relating to who takes responsibility for the follow up of recommendations and key executive undert
akings while addressing the lack of horizontal integration between the activities of various government departments,’ said Mtsweni-Tsipane.

According to Mtsweni-Tsipane, the NCOP has been strategically repositioned over the past few years to improve the quality of life of ordinary South Africans, particularly the poor and the marginalised.

‘As we begin with the task of the seventh parliament, the NCOP must foster and maintain a dynamic relationship with provinces, particularly the provincial legislatures, as well as the communities that we serve.’

She said she hoped that permanent delegates would serve as active agents for the ongoing promotion of a dynamic interaction with their provinces.

‘The significance of this ongoing interaction cannot be overemphasised, as this facilitates a useful link between both provincial and national spheres of government is faced with a wide variety of developmental challenges, which include the high levels of inequality and unemployment, slow economic growth, as well as th
e gender-based violence and femicide.’

The Chairperson believes the House has made great strides in institutionalising key oversight and report back programmes.

These include the Women’s Parliament, Youth Parliament, Men’s Parliament, as well as the provincial women’s charter report back programme.

She said the NCOP must collectively strive to work cooperatively with all stakeholders to address the developmental challenges of the nation.

Kenneth Mmoiemang, who is a member of the Northern Cape delegation, was also elected unopposed as the Chief Whip of the NCOP.

During the swearing-in ceremony, Chief Justice Zondo explained the contents of the oath and affirmation.

The delegates promised to fulfil their duties as permanent delegates to the NCOP or as members of their provincial legislatures to the best of their abilities.

The NCOP is one of the two Houses of Parliament and consists of 54 permanent members and 36 special delegates.

Delegations consist of 10 representatives from each province and the NCO
P must have a mandate from the provinces before it can make certain decisions.

The House aims to represent provincial interests in the national sphere of government.

South African Local Government Association (Salga) President Bheki Stofile congratulated Mtsweni-Tsipane on her election while the heads of delegations from provinces also offered their messages of support.

Source: South African Government News Agency