Caucus commended for a job well done – ANC

MPs ensured that the ruling party advanced its transformation agenda by passing key legislation

ANC statement on the last sitting of 6th Democratic Parliament

21 May 2024

The African National Congress applauds the sixth ANC Parliamentary Caucus on holding the final sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. In its 54th National Conference, the ANC resolved to advance its Renewal process. This meant that the ANC, internally and in government, would do everything necessary to regain the people's trust and confidence.

Guided by the resolution on Renewal, the ANC developed a Manifesto for 2019 national and provincial elections.

The Manifesto was titled A People's Plan for a Better Life for All, and it identified six policy priorities to be implemented in the 6th Administration.

These policy priorities are:

a. Advance Social Transformation.
b. Build Safer Communities.

c. Fight Corruption and Promote Integrity.

d. Strengthen Governance and Promote Integrity.

e. Build National Unity and Embrace Our Diversity.

f. South Africa, Africa and the World.

The people of South Africa in the 2019 national and provincial elections gave the ANC majority at national level and in eight (8) provinces. This meant that the ANC Parliamentary Caucus was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the ANC implements its Manifesto priorities guided by the principle of continuity and change.

30 Years of Parliament

As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our Democratic breakthrough, Parliament also marks 30 years of a democratic Parliament. For 30 years, the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa has ensured the people govern as an institution that provides a platform for the democratically elected representatives of our people to voice their aspirations and advance their interests. It has been a voice for the people and of the people.

Today, women's representation in Parliament in 2024 is 46%. Before 1994, fewer than 3% of the members were women, with the democratic government's first speaker being a woman, the late Frene Ginwala. It was in Parliament that the first President of the Republic of South Africa was elected, President Nelson Mandela.

Over the 30 years, Parliament, in the first term, adopted 494 transformative bills and 313 in the second term, including the adoption of the Constitution in 1996. In the current sixth term, Parliament has passed 124 bills. The ANC has led the transformation agender working with the people and social partners. Today, our laws are renowned globally.

Parliament has developed parliamentary systems and mechanisms to ensure effective oversight and accountability of the executive and to place the people at the centre of its work. Over the past thirty years, the people have been responsible for shaping their own lives through petitions, submissions, public hearings, and engagements with public representatives in their various constituency offices across South Africa.

Parliaments Resilience Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic and Fire Destruction

The 6th Parliament was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted social and economic activities worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic saw the death of millions of people across the world and pain in families. We remember and salute Members of Parliament who lost their lives due to the pandemic and other causes. The ANC lost 24 members of the Caucus, with 16 due to COVID-19. Parliament was further impacted by the burning of the Parliamentary Precincts destroying a heritage site, and a facility for the effective functioning of Parliament.

We commend Parliament's resilience in continuing with its functions through the use of digital platforms and holding hybrid sittings to ensure continuity with no disruption to the constitutional mandate of the arm of state.

We also welcome the progress of the restoration process of the Parliamentary Precinct, which will embrace the diversity of our nation and reflect our democratic values.

Despite these factors, the 6th Caucus has ensured that the ANC in Parliament advances its transformation agenda by passing legislation to ensure a better life for all and transform our society.

Transformative Legislation Among the transformative and progressive legislation passed by the 6th Caucus is the Constitutional amendment to ensure that Sign Language becomes one of the official languages of South Africa. This amendment has not only ensured the recognition of Sign Language but also affirmed Sign Language users as equal citizens in our country.

The strategic Bills that were passed by Parliament during the 6th Caucus include and are not limited to the listed:
Border Management Authority Bill: The bill seeks to ensure an integrated and co-ordinated border management in accordance with the Constitution, international and domestic law.

b. National Prosecution Authority Amendment Bill: The bill provides for the establishment of the Investigating Directorate against Corruption and its powers and functions.

c. Employment Equity Amendment Bill: The bill advances the transformation of South Africa's workforce by setting equity targets for economic sectors and geographical regions and requiring enterprises to develop transformation plans.

d. National Health Insurance Bill: This bill seeks to provide universal access to quality health care for all South Africans, as enshrined in the Constitution.

e. Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill: The bill seeks to enhance the organisational efficiency of the basic education system to improve school governance, leadership, and accountability, transforming education services and protecting vulnerable groups to ensure learner well-being and access to learning.

f. Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bills: The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, Domestic Violence Amendment Bill, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill and the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill. All these bills heighten the fight against GBV-F and develop systems to implement the National Strategic Plan on GBV-F.

g. Expropriation Bill: The objective of the legislation is to establish due process for the expropriation of property for public purposes and in the public interest.

h. Electoral Amendment Bill: To include the participation of independent candidates and initiate an electoral reform process.

i. Climate Change Bill: To enable the development of an effective climate change response and a long-term just transition to a low carbon economy.

j. Public Procurement Bill: to regulate public procurement and prescribe a framework within the preferential procurement inclusive of localisation and set-asides for designated groups.

k. Pension Fund Amendment Bill: To enable members to withdraw a portion of their pension fund through the two-pot system.

Oversight and Public Participation

Parliament has played its constitutional obligation of oversight over the executive through robust, evidence-based deliberations and accountability. This is signified by the executive's level of accountability to Parliament without fear or favour. Parliament established numerous Ad-Hoc Committees to respond with agility and oversee executive intervention actions in flood disaster relief and recovery to ensure the timely restoration of livelihoods in Kwa-ZuIu Natal, Eastern Cape and North West.

The National Council of Provinces established an Ad-Hoc Committee on the section 100 intervention in North West to continue with the work undertaken in the fifth Parliament. The National Assembly also focused on ensuring consequence management on acts of mismanagement and corruption of COVID-19 response interventions.

Parliament has ensured actions are taken in response to the recommendations impacting it and the executive from the State Capture—Zondo Commission, for which President Ramaphosa tabled the executive's implementation plan.

The 6th Caucus has also played a critical role in ensuring the strengthening of Chapter 9 institutions, which are institutions supporting democracy. In this regard, a Section 194 Enquiry into the removal of the Public Protector to hold office was a novel process. Recently, Parliament has approved another section 194 enquiry on the conduct of a Commissioner of the Commission of Gender Equality.

True to the notion of an activist Parliament, Parliament has ensured the meaningful participation of South Africans from all walks of life and civil society organs in processing legislation and its oversight work. The sixth Parliament saw a heightened public participation in legislation and introduced various digital platforms to enhance public participation, which is critical for our participatory democracy.

Parliament has also advanced the nation's foreign policy positions in various parliamentary multilateral and
bilateral forums.

Let's Do More Together

South Africa has transformed significantly since 1994. We have made progress but still have a long way to go to achieve our transformation goals and a better life for all.

South Africa continues to grapple with challenges of unemployment, poverty, and inequality. The socio-economic disparities that are a legacy of apartheid, colonialism and patriarchy are still visible despite the transformative progress that the democratic government registered since 1994.

Since 2019, there has been a positive progression in giving meaningful expression to what the ANC represents, champions and advocates with full determination and vigour. To advance the interests of society and build a prosperous and better country where each individual can unleash their full potential, to contribute to the growth of the country and social upliftment.

The ANC has made significant progress in implementing its transformation agenda despite facing obstacles along the way. The ANC's collective vision and leadership have allowed us to overcome these hurdles, ensuring the uninterrupted realisation of the ANC Manifesto and the pursuit of a better life.

Based on this strong foundation the democratic Parliament will positively grow in the future.


Issued by Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri, National Spokesperson, ANC, 21 May 2024