Can we, at this point, afford an opportunity to the Chairperson to make a few remarks. I will start
by acknowledging the hon Chief Justice of South Africa, Mogoeng Mogoeng, premiers, Makhura, Mokgoro, Ntombela, Mtsweni, Sihle Zikalala and the representatives of the other four provinces, new and returning delegates, former Chairperson of the NCOP and now the Speaker of Parliament, representatives of South African Local Government Association, Salga.
I wish to take an opportunity at this point to note that Salga has brought to the NCOP today a full complement of its delegation and this is indeed something that must be emulated going forward. Those of our people who are in the gallery as well as those who may be watching from home, ladies and gentlemen and hon members of the NCOP, we meet at a time when our country has just had its 2019 national general elections held on 8 May 2019. The composition of Parliament in the Republic, as we all know, is constituted of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
According to the Republic of South Africa Constitution section 42(4) quotes:
The National Council of Provinces represents the provinces to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. It does this mainly by
participating in the national legislative process and by providing a national forum for public consideration of issues affecting the provinces.
Today it is in this context that we should remind ourselves that Parliament and legislatures perform three basic functions; a representative function, a legislative function and an oversight function that seeks to ensure that our government is kept accountable. This especially speaks to government plans, government policies and government programmes.
Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank the hon Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, for presiding over the swearing in of the NCOP permanent delegates as well as the facilitation of the election of the Chairperson of the NCOP. We see this as a meaningful contribution in an effort to deepen our democracy and in the fulfilment of all the provisions of the Constitution.
We thank you Chief Justice for demonstrating patriotism and commitment - we are grateful and proud of the judiciary. Let us remind ourselves of the words of President Nelson Mandela when he said, and I quote:
The NCOP is uniquely placed to reflect the diversity of our society and to synthesise the experience of those spheres of government which are charged with the great bulk of the task of implementing our national programme of fundamental change.
This is a quote from the address by President Mandela to the National Council of Provinces on 7 August 1998. Members of the NCOP, in the context of the dedicated and competent collectives and a galaxy of leaders, we pledge to serve all our people. We will do so irrespective of class, colour, gender, religion, environmental or any other form of discrimination. We seek, first and foremost, to serve.
Let me also take this opportunity to reassure you that we will do all we can to master and deepen the art of doing. We will not merely dwell on matters theoretically - important though this might be. We will grapple with the most difficult - the art of doing. We will seek and strive to build this culture as we grapple with critical issues in the context of co- operative governance.
The NCOP will indeed be preoccupied with this important question going forward. I commit and undertake to do so sparing neither strength nor courage; to do so to the best of my abilities. I pledge
to do so with integrity and being guided by the constitutional values of accountability, responsiveness and openness. I thank you. [Applause.]