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National Assembly

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Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name National Assembly
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) National Council of Provinces
Title Speaker of the National Assembly
Term - duration: 5 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: loss of mandate, removal by resolution of the National Assembly, resignation, dissolution of Parliament, death
Appointment - elected by all Members of the National Assembly at the first sitting of the newly elected Parliament or whenever the office becomes vacant
- after Members are sworn in
Eligibility - any Member has to be formally candidate
- nomination must be signed by 2 Members and the candidate
Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot in one round (or more if no candidate obtains a majority)
- majority is required for all the votes cast; in the event of equality of votes, a new round is held

Procedures / results - the Chief Justice, or judge nominated by him, presides over the Assembly during the voting
- the Chief Justice (who may appoint persons to assist him) supervises the voting
- the Chief Justice, or judge presiding, announces the results without any delay
- the results cannot be challenged
Status - his/her rank is equivalent to a Cabinet Minister
- the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the Senate preside on monthly rotational basis over joint sittings of both Chambers
- represents the Assembly with the public authorities
- represents the Assembly in international bodies, with the President of the Senate such as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Inter-Parliamentary Union
- is ex officio Chairman of the Rules Committee
- in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker can assume his/her role and functions

Material facilities - salary (R 320 400 pa)
+ parliamentary allowance (R 32 400 pa)
+ motorcar allowance (R 70 560 pa)
- accident insurance
- unlimited domestic air, rail and bus travel at the expense of Parliament
- official residence
- official car, with a permanent driver/body guard
- secretary + personal assistant
Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions, in consultation with the Leader of the House
- examines the admissibility of bills and amendments
- refers texts to a committee for study
- examines the admissibility of request for setting up committees which must comply with the Rules; may establish a committee during a period of adjournment of at least 14 days, after consultation with a Whip of each party

Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and close sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Assembly
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- may withdraw permission to speak if a Member speaking transgresses Rules, but list of speakers is determined by the Whips
- establishes the order in which amendments are taken up
- verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- can check the quorum when lack of quorum is drawn to Speaker's attention by a Member
- authenticates the adopted texts and the records of debates
- interprets the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Assembly
- has discretionary power to give the floor outside the agenda and thus organizes impromptu debates

Special powers - sets policy within which the Assembly's budget is compiled
- delegates specified responsabilities to the Secretary of Parliament in recruiting, assigning and promoting staff
- responsible for policy in organizing the services of the Assembly
- is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments, jointly with the President of Senate
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Assembly
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes the floor in legislative debates
- takes part in voting only in event of equality votes
- may only intervene in the parliamentary oversight procedures to ensure observance of Rules
- may bring to the attention of the Executive if any bill does not comply with constitutional requirements
- may be consulted in certain circumstances (dissolution, appointment of the Prime Minister, institution of exceptional powers by the Head of State, etc.)

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