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Parliament review: May election brings significant change in Parly

The polls saw both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) lose support to smaller parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on the left and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) on the right.

FILE: ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa being sworn in as an MP in Parliament on 22 May 2019. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN

CAPE TOWN - This year saw a significant changing of the guard in Parliament, thanks to the outcome of the May general elections.

The polls saw both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) lose support to smaller parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on the left and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) on the right.

The elections meant there were two State of the Nation Addresses this year. When MPs convened for the second one in June, around 40% of the National Assembly’s members were seated in the chamber for the first time.

The DA’s new chief whip Natasha Mazzone summed it up at the National Assembly’s last sitting for the year:

"The year 2019 – what a year. I think we can all agree that half of this year was spent by us saying: 'Whoa, what was that?' and the rest of the year flew by so fast that it’s hard to believe that we are here - the end of the parliamentary term, the end of the year and most astoundingly, we’re at the end of a decade."

Mmusi Maimane’s sudden resignation as leader catapulted former DA chief whip John Steenhuisen into the role and Mazzone took the whip over from him. But the elections had already changed the complexion of the National Assembly, returning a bruised DA and ANC with reduced numbers.

The EFF grew from 25 to 44 seats, the Freedom Front Plus won six new seats, growing from four to 10, and the IFP’s extra three seats now gave it 13 MPs.

With a new Speaker, Thandi Modise, in place, the sixth democratic Parliament was ready to roll.

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