Speech by ANC Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude on the motion of Parliament fullfillig its mandate in holding the executive to account
15 November 2016
The 1994 elections ushered in a new democratic order in South Africa. The extraordinary participation by South Africans showed that we desired to heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.
The process of negotiations, which preceded the 1994 elections, resulted in the drafting of a new Constitution, as adopted on 8 May 1996 by the Constitutional Assembly. The Constitution was adopted as the supreme law of the Republic and lays the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law. It stipulates the values and mechanisms for governance of our unique people-centred democracy. The Constitution sets a single, sovereign democratic state where governance is effected through Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary. In the Republic the legislative authority is vested in Parliament, the executive authority is vested in the President, and the judicial authority is vested in the Courts.
Parliament's role and ultimate outcome is to represent the people and ensure government by the people under the Constitution, as well as represent the provinces in the national sphere of government. This mandate of Parliament is achieved through passing legislation, overseeing government action, and the facilitating of public involvement, co-operative government and international participation. The role of Parliament includes the promotion of the values of human dignity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism, the supremacy of the Constitution.
The establishment of parliament was founded by Act 108 of 1996, Chapter 4 Sub- section 42 and the powers to ensure that its provide mechanisms (a) to ensure that all executive organs of state in the national spheres of government are accountable to it and (b) to maintain oversight, these powers are enshrined in Sub-Section 55(2) a&b of the Act (Constitution).
Since in its establishment, Parliament has been fulfilling its responsibility mandated by the constitution in ensuring that it improved the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person and build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
We have begun the 5th Parliament during an Apex year of achievement, as we celebrate a historical milestone in the life of our democratic parliament. We celebrated the 60th anniversary of Freedom charter which remains the prime political mandate of the ANC and also celebrated the 20th anniversary of our constitution.
We recognise that the key role of parliament is to consider and pass legislation, oversight role over the executive, inculcate public participation and participate in international relations. Now more than ever, this institution of parliament is hard pressed to formulate progressive laws that will create conditions of greater tolerance amongst our people.
Parliament is therefore obliged to work with resolute commitment to ensure that all the instrument that are at our disposal on this institution are effectively utilised, for the progressive transformation of our society.
This Fifth parliament managed to pass many progressive bills, important laws and adopted many reports that are critical in improving lives of the majority of our people. And the total of 7 874 written questions and 1 243 Oral questions were asked and answered by the executive.