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Parliament, Thursday, 01 September 2022 - The National Assembly (NA) Speaker Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, informed the NA Programme Committee meeting that she would invoke Rule 210 in order to meet with the Chief Whip of the Majority Party and Leader of Government Business before the end of the week to finalise the matter of Questions for Oral Reply by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Rule 210 provides that if consensus cannot be reached on a question before the Programme Committee, a decision on the question may be taken, at the meeting or subsequently, by the Chief Whip with the concurrence of the Speaker and Leader of Government Business.

The Session on Questions for Oral Reply by the President adjourned on Tuesday, 30 August 2022, while the President was still due to respond to supplementary questions in respect of Question N0 11, which was the fifth question on the day. The President appears before the National Assembly for questions four times a year, and six questions are posed per session. Four supplementary questions are allowed to each question during the session.

The NAPC meeting acknowledged that the rules did not provide for a question that was not completed in a sitting, as was the case on 30 August. There was broad agreement that the President would still reply to the unanswered supplementary questions posed in respect of Question No 11.

The Speaker announced that she would write to the President to request a date regarding his availability to complete the business of the outstanding supplementary questions. The Rules provide that when a three-hour session lapses with a question unanswered, a written reply is submitted. Therefore, Question No 12, which was the sixth and last question on the day has been responded to in writing.

It is not the first time that a session of this nature was adjourned and rescheduled for a later date. In August 2014, the NA could not complete its Question and Answer session and the House adjourned while dealing with the third question. The outstanding three questions were only replied to in writing, but a special session was arranged on a later date to deal with supplementary questions.

National Assembly Rule 4 provides among other things that the National Assembly may, by resolution, make an Order supplementing the rules. Accordingly, the NAPC has agreed to the tabling of a motion in the name of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party for the outstanding supplementary questions to be replied to.

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo