The adoption of the motion to cut ties with Israel has moved to the next step where the Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, will communicate this decision to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor.
Parliament has given an explanation on the adoption of the resolution and processes that need to be followed.
The national legislation said now that the resolution has been passed by the majority of parliamentarians, however, it was not binding. This was based on the doctrine of separation of powers between the three arms of the state.
Mapisa-Nqakula will bring this resolution to the attention of Ramaphosa and Pandor.
A resolution of parliament is an expression of the will of members of the national legislature.
Even though it is not binding, the President or Cabinet must give justifiable reasons why they cannot implement it.
The only mechanism in which government is forced to implement the decision of parliament is when a Bill is passed. Government or a minister responsible would have to implement that piece of legislation.
Parliament said even if the resolution is not binding government must be held accountable.
“Once a resolution is adopted by the House, it becomes an official expression of the will of Parliament. The Speaker of the House has the responsibility to formally bring this resolution to the attention of the President and the relevant or affected government department,” said parliament.
“This serves as a formal communication channel between the legislative and executive branches of government. Resolutions adopted by Parliament are generally not binding on the government and this is rooted in the doctrine of the separation of powers,” it said.
“Parliament, as the legislative branch, may express its views through resolutions, but it cannot dictate executive decisions. The only way its resolutions may be binding, in this context, is through a piece of legislation.”
The members of the African National Congress, Economic Freedom Fighters, National Freedom Party, Pan Africanist Congress, Al-Jama-ah, the African Independent Congress and the African Transformation Movement voted in support of the motion to cut ties with Israel.
Ramaphosa was holding an emergency meeting of BRICS leaders to discuss the crisis in Palestine when the resolution was adopted by parliament.
The BRICS leaders said they want an end to the conflict and there must be direct talks between Israel and Hamas.
During the debate in the National Assembly, the Democratic Alliance, Inkatha Freedom Party, African Christian Democratic Party and Freedom Front Plus warned against the decision of parliament to vote on cutting ties with Israel.
They said this would prevent the government from playing any meaningful role in the peace process in the Middle East.
Parliament said now that the resolution has been adopted it is in the hands of the president and the minister of international relations to implement it.
“For the government to ignore a parliamentary resolution, there must be compelling justification,” said parliament.
“Such justifications may include constitutional or legal constraints, national security concerns, or practical reasons that make it infeasible to implement the resolution. It is essential for the government to account on these justifications transparently to maintain trust and accountability.”
It added that resolutions adopted by members of the House are one of the mechanisms to hold government accountable.