The South African parliament is about to make history when the two houses of parliament hold their first full virtual sessions this week.
National Council of Provinces chairman Amos Masondo will have to deal with his 54 members on Tuesday afternoon when they will have the opportunity to meet two of the country’s most talked-about ministers, Dr. Zweli Mkhize (health) and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (cooperative government), questioned for an hour and a half after each of the ministers only got half an hour to state their case.
The big test is in fact ahead of the National Assembly speaker, Thandi Modise, on Wednesday with the first virtual session of the National Assembly with its 400 members. In addition, it is also a questioning session, for both the government and the social groups of the Cabinet, who are at the forefront and therefore under fire during the secession period.
The National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly will both follow a hybrid system with presiding officers and some members of parliament (for example, the DA is currently planning to deploy only ten of its 84 members in the National Assembly), which will be physically in the venues in Cape Town will be, and the rest will be virtual.
The chances of chaos in the National Assembly are therefore particularly high, as Modise will have to decide from the chair which of the 400 members will have the opportunity to ask questions.
The members of the big parties said they would support the presiding officers, but one would have to see if it would hold. The presiding officers promised to turn off any loud MPs in the virtual meeting’s audio button.
The media may cover the proceedings from the press gallery, and the public can watch the sessions on Parliament’s YouTube or television channel 408.