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By Jarryd Westerdale

Digital Journalist

WATCH: National Assembly sits to elect Speaker, Deputy Speaker and President (VIDEO)

ANC being hounded by 'progressive caucus' while DA's Helen Zille says negotiations ran until 2am without a solid agreement

The political wrangling behind the scenes is over and the nation will only have a few more hours to wait before knowing the identity of National Assembly’ leaders.

The ANC secured just over 40% of the national vote in the 29 May elections. This means for the first time in 30 years it is now shopping for coalition partners to stay in power.

It has proposed a Government of National Unity (GNU), the first since 1994, and has held meetings with various parties over the last few days.

The first sitting of the National Assembly and provincial legislatures will take place this Friday at 10am and will feature the swearing-in of parliamentary members and the election of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and President.

WATCH: Parliament proceedings

The swearing in of members

First sittings vary in length and with this year’s unprecedented composition of parties, it is likely to be an all-day affair.

In 2019, the Speaker position came down to an extended vote, prolonging proceedings that eventually concluded at 5:30pm

400 members from 18 political parties will convene at Cape Town International Convention Centre. Proceedings will begin with the Sergeant-at-Arms guiding Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to the Speaker’s seat.

A moment of reflection will follow the national anthem before Zondo announces the presiding powers granted to him by the Constitution.

Incoming parliamentary members will approach the Chief Justice in groups of 10, and will then swear their unwavering commitment to the Republic and Constitution before taking the oath in any of the nation’s official languages.

FOR MORE ON THIS, READ: Mace positions and a president: What to expect from the first sitting of parliament on Friday

How are they likely to vote?

While the landscape is changing every hour leading to Friday’s sittings, the ANC, DA, IFP and PA have all publicly shared their intention to be part of the GNU.

The EFF rejects the GNU, with leader Julius Malema saying his party would not work with political rivals.

ALSO READ: ‘We haven’t closed the door to the ANC’ – EFF’s Shivambu

The EFF is currently negotiating with the ANC outside of the GNU, after previously calling for the ANC, EFF and uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party to join forces.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said the party will field its own candidate for president and speaker if it cannot form a coalition by Friday.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s MK party has said its members will not form part of the sitting on Friday, questioning the legitimacy of the elections.

It took the matter to the Constitutional Court, in an effort to stop the sitting. But this was dismissed on Wednesday evening.

ALSO READ: ConCourt dismisses MK party’s urgent bid to halt Parliament

Despite the ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) claims that it was difficult to meet with the MK party for negotiations, the party said it was open to talking with anyone who wanted to engage with it.

IFP party leader Velenkosini Hlabisa said the party would work towards forming a coalition government with the ANC, DA and NFP in KwaZulu-Natal.

Hlabisa told 702 he was not too concerned by claims there may be unrest if the MK party is not included in government.

FOR MORE ON THIS, READ: Inside coalition talks: ‘History will judge us for not putting aside our egos and grudges

Additional reporting by Kyle Zeeman,  Jarryd Westerdale, Faizel PatelNicholas Zaal, and Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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