How does a dissolution of Parliament work?


File: President Jacob Zuma presents the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament (National Assembly and National Council of Provinces) on 11 February 2016 at 19h00.

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition parties called for a dissolution of Parliament on Monday.

READ: DA to submit written request to dissolve Parliament

At a press conference held by opposition parties, EFF leader Julius Malema labelled a transition from President Jacob Zuma to his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, "a swopping from one corrupt to another".


The process to dissolve the National Assembly is set out in section 50 of the Constitution, which states that the president must dissolve the assembly if a supporting vote of the motion is adopted by the majority of the house.

In order to effect this, 201 members of Parliament have to support the motion if each of the 400 seats in the National Assembly is filled.



If Parliament is dissolved it will necessitate an early national election. It would also be the first dissolution of Parliament in democratic South African history.

If a motion in terms of section 50 succeeds, section 49 dictates the next steps.

This section requires the president, by proclamation, to call and set a date for an election, which must be held within 90 days of the date the National Assembly is dissolved.

If the result of an election is not declared within the prescribed time - seven days, according to the Electoral Act - or if the result is set aside by a court, the president must again call an election.

The National Assembly remains competent to function from the time it is dissolved, or its term expires, until the day before the first day of polling for the next assembly.