Parliament, Tuesday, 16 August 2022 – Members of Parliament attending the House through the virtual platform will soon be able to vote during hybrid sitting that require voting. This was announced by the National Assembly Speaker (NA), Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, during a training and capacity-building workshop for NA Members.

Thus far, it has not been possible for Members to vote on the virtual platform since Parliament adopted the hybrid house sitting format. The introduction of the new system will address this challenge.

The Speaker said that, given the growing role and use of technology, it was imperative that significant attention is paid to the development of technical competencies so that Members can effectively use technological tools in their daily responsibilities. “As our democracy matures,Parliament is required to always have the capacity to navigate emerging challenges and to continuously improve its institutional capacity to execute its mandate,” said the Speaker.

Referring specifically to how Members submit motions in her address, the Speaker called on political parties to ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of Rules and Procedures of the House. If Members submit their motions in the correct format, it enables the Speaker to deal more promptly with matters brought to her attention.

Ms Mapisa-Nqakula stated that in order to foster public trust in Parliament, it is incumbent on political parties and Members to maintain the highest ethical standards. Failure to adhere to these standards only compromises the ability of the institution to hold government accountable and ensure effective delivery of commitments to the people.

She encouraged Members to use the week-long training to discuss and understand the requirements of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests for National Assembly and Permanent National Council of Provinces Members and what it is they need to disclose.

The Speaker emphasised the need for Members to competently engage with the policy-making and budgeting process. She also called on Members to effectively use the Parliamentary Budget Office, which was established specifically for the purposes of providing advice and analysis to Parliament on matters related to the budget and Money Bills.

The Speaker emphasised that the 6th Parliament hascommitted itself to further strengthening Parliament’s capacity for effective oversight over the executive. With this in mind, the reformed questions and answer mechanismnow includes accountability measures to ensure strict compliance by members of the Executive.

The Speaker further encouraged Members to use the capacity training as a tool to improve methods of defending democracy. Without a strong capacitated and fully independent legislative sector, this democracy and the people’s aspirations for a better life will have no guarantees, she said.

The capacity-building training programme will continue until Friday, 19 August.

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