South Africa: Festive Season Message By the Presiding Officers of Parliament, Ms Baleka Mbete and Ms Thandi Modise

Fellow South Africans, we witnessed the end of a momentous year in the 22-year history of our democratic Parliament. The founding fathers, mothers and pioneers of our free and democratic South Africa, must be proud to observe continuous and enduring levels of resilience of a constitutional democracy, they helped build.

The year 2016, in many respects, represented the greatest tests of our 20-year old Constitution, when the no-holds-barred engagement of the three Arms of State, left us stronger, more resilient and fortified to relaunch our efforts to accelerate the transformation of Parliament and broader development of our country.

The founding Father of our democracy, uTat'uNelson Mandela described the first 100 days of the first democratic Parliament as representing "a robust and vibrant democracy", within the limits of what befitted Members of the House at that time. We believe, 2016 did not only demonstrate, most graphically, that vibrancy of our constitutional democracy, but pushed wider the boundaries of what was described as "limits of what is befitting Members of this House". Parliament will continue on this path to fully give effect to the ideals of our fore-bearers.

We have just completed two-and-a-half years, a mid-point of the 5th Democratic Parliament. Standing on the shoulders of giants that built a formidable Parliamentary system during the 22 years of freedom, we are at a critical point of transforming parliament to meet current and future challenges. We advanced in repositioning the manner Parliament does its business of being a national forum for people's consideration of issues during the second generation of our democratic Parliament.

As we are set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of coming into effect of our Constitution on the 4 February 2017, we pledge to continue to accelerate the transformation of Parliament so that the citizens, as custodians and beneficiaries of our democracy, derive even great value from Parliament. As a people's Parliament, we will continue to ensure that Parliament is the go-to agency of the people that addresses their developmental needs and their immediate concerns.

We will continue to work on delivering excellent services to our members and the people of South Africa at larger. The collective leadership of Parliament, inclusive of various office bearers in Parliament, party leadership and their caucuses, and staff, will work together to achieve our goals.

We wish you all, a safe and a wonderful festive season, as well as, a fruitful 2017.

Source: Parliament of South Africa