The President’s reply brought a dignified end today to the two days’ debate, which had proceeded smoothly.
There was robust exchange of views, “heckling” and, sometimes, what some Members complained of as “howling” on Tuesday and Wednesday when Members of the National Assembly (NA) and National Council of Provinces debated the address.
But there was a general air of respect.
The two days of debate attracted large numbers of members of the public to the public galleries in the NA Chamber, where the debate took place. Today, when the President again took the podium to reply to the issues raised by Members, the galleries were packed.
Parliament’s Presiding Officers and the President reiterated during the week that all Members – the people’s representatives – must work together to enable Parliament to effectively discharge its Constitutional mandate as the legislative branch of our Constitutional democracy.
It was evident in the constructive conclusion of the debate today that, as former President Nelson Mandela said in 1999: “It is in the legislatures that the instruments have been established to create the conditions for a better life for all. It is here that oversight of government has been exercised. It is here that our society, in all its formations, has had an opportunity to influence policy and its implementation.
“It was here that the possibility was created of improving the lives and working conditions of millions. It is a record in which we can take pride.”
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS