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Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane Elected Chairperson of National Council of Provinces

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Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane Elected Chairperson of National Council of Provinces

Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane Elected Chairperson of National Council of Provinces

Cape Town – Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane of the African National Congress (ANC) was elected unopposed as the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Saturday. The election took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) where delegates from South Africa’s nine provinces were sworn in during the first NCOP sitting since the May General Election.

New Beginnings for the NCOP

The newly-elected Chairperson assured a commitment to her responsibilities in alignment with the Constitution. “It is with great humility and a deep resolve to honour your trust that I assume the position of Chairperson,” Mtsweni-Tsipane stated, highlighting her dedication to uphold the foundational principles of South Africa’s democratic governance.

Swearing-In Ceremony Held with Dignity

Friday marked the first sitting of the National Assembly (NA), where new Members of Parliament (MPs) took the oath and affirmation. Chief Justice Raymond Zondo managed the ceremony and oversaw the election of both the NCOP Chairperson and Speaker Thoko Didiza, alongside the re-election of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Chief Justice Zondo, who led the proceedings, administered the required oath and affirmation to all NCOP members before presiding over Mtsweni-Tsipane’s election.

Vision for Transformative Leadership

Mtsweni-Tsipane, the outgoing Premier of Mpumalanga, shared her vision for the NCOP’s future. She underscored the importance of transformative leadership, women’s inclusion, and progressive governance across the provinces. “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 stated confidently to the House.

Enhancing Cooperative Governance

Emphasising the critical role of the NCOP in fostering cooperative governance and inter-governmental relations, Mtsweni-Tsipane highlighted the need to resolve uncertainties surrounding intergovernmental decisions and responsibilities. “The NCOP will need to address the uncertainty which is rife around the status of intergovernmental relations,” she noted.

She also stressed the necessity to bridge the gap between different government departments, ensuring a more cohesive approach to governance.

Strategic Repositioning for Quality Life

Reflecting on the NCOP’s recent initiatives, Mtsweni-Tsipane mentioned the council’s strategic repositioning aims to uplift the quality of life for ordinary South Africans, especially the marginalised. “The NCOP must foster a dynamic relationship with provinces and the communities we serve,” she urged.

Permanent delegates are expected to strengthen their connection with their provinces, furthering the council’s mission to tackle issues like inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, and gender-based violence.

Institutionalising Oversight Programmes

Mtsweni-Tsipane lauded the NCOP’s progress in institutionalising key oversight and report-back programmes. Initiatives like the Women’s Parliament, Youth Parliament, Men’s Parliament, and the provincial women’s charter report-back programme were mentioned as significant steps towards achieving accountable governance.

Collective Efforts for National Development

The Chairperson called for cooperation with all stakeholders to address South Africa’s developmental challenges, urging that “the NCOP must work cooperatively with all stakeholders to tackle the nation’s issues.”

Meanwhile, Kenneth Mmoiemang from the Northern Cape delegation was also elected unopposed as the Chief Whip of the NCOP.

Chief Justice Zondo, during the swearing-in ceremony, elaborated on the significance of the oath and affirmation. The delegates committed themselves to fulfilling their duties to the best of their capabilities.

The Role of the NCOP

The NCOP, as one of the two Houses of Parliament, consists of 54 permanent members and 36 special delegates. The body aims to represent provincial interests at the national level. It requires a provincial mandate before making certain decisions.

Congratulations and Support

South African Local Government Association (Salga) President Bheki Stofile and heads of provincial delegations expressed their support and congratulations to Mtsweni-Tsipane on her new role.

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