December 17, 2017

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 weekly email newsletter that tracks and monitors Parliament in its role of holding government to account and passing legislation to improve people’s lives. It aims to bring you the news from Parliament that you don’t get elsewhere. Published by Moira Levy with the support of the Claude Leon Foundation.

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