November 18, 2019

Keynote Address to the ANC Stalwarts and Veterans National Consultative Conference by Njabulo S. Ndebele

The autobiography of the first Secretary of the democratic Parliament, Sindiso Mfenyana, tells a fascinating story of exile, but leaves you wanting the next instalment of this man’s life.

Stay calm and take your seat. That should be Parliament’s slogan for the days when Lechesa Tsenoli takes the chair in the National Assembly. He may not have the glamour or the wardrobe of the Speaker. But he has a way of adopting a bemused air when things get hectic, which tells you that he is taking it all seriously, but not too seriously.

Now is probably a really good time to be reminded that South Africa’s electoral system was never meant to be permanent. It was understood as a transitional arrangement that was supposed to have been revised after the first term of ANC rule. Convenor of the Save South Africa Campaign and chair of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) Sipho Pityana described the practice of voting according to party lines as a “major handicap of Parliament”.

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Notes from the House is an independent online publication that tracks and monitors Parliament’s role in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities to improve the lives of South African citizens. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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