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MPs pass motion to dissolve Parliament

The dissolution is a technicality and does not affect Parliament from concluding unfinished business when it is due to rise on 20 March.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at State of the Nation Address during the joint sitting of Parliament in the National assembly, Cape Town. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has passed a motion for the dissolution of Parliament, paving the way for President Cyril Ramaphosa to proclaim the election date.

The dissolution is a technicality and does not affect Parliament from concluding unfinished business when it is due to rise on 20 March.

Tabling the motion on Thursday, African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Jackson Mthembu explained that 8 May cannot be proclaimed as the election date next week, while there's still a sitting Parliament.

The mandate of the current Parliament only ends on 20 May and an election can’t be called while there’s a sitting Parliament.

Mthembu says dissolving Parliament now will not affect its work: “To suspend rules 33(2) and 35(1) to prevent bills and other business from lapsing when the House is dissolved, I so move honourable speaker.”

A letter from the president, read by Speaker Baleka Mbete, states Parliament and provincial legislatures have to be dissolved by Tuesday to allow the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa enough time to carry out its work.

This is also when Ramaphosa plans to proclaim the election date and the voters' roll will officially close.

The motion was adopted by a majority vote of 249 members, paving the way for 8 May to be gazetted as the official election date.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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