IF the sparks that flew during the first sitting of the National Council of Provinces are anything to go by, then Parliament is set to be a real rough ride.
The first salvo was fired by DA leader Hellen Zille, who told ANC MPs that they had a lot to learn about the separation between party and state.
"You must remember that your mandate in the NCOP does not come from Polokwane. It is essential for you to begin to understand the distinction between party and state. We don't want to be a failed democracy," Zille said, as ANC MPs tried to shout her down.
Zille was responding to newly elected Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kievit, who said Parliament should stop spending too much time "involving the public in law-making".
"It is high time that we review our strategy of involving the public in law-making. What has all the massive production of laws done for our people?" she asked.
ANC MP Nosipho Ndwanambi came out firing on all cylinders. She told Zille that she may have won the Western Cape but she did not win the hearts "of my people".
"You have won the right to lead your race only, not the people of this (Eastern Cape) province," Ndwanambi said.
Earlier in the day, a calm group of 54 MPs pledged the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic after being sworn-in by Chief Justice Pius Langa.
Most of the seven Cope members in the NCOP are former ANC leading lights.
These include former ANC MP and head of the correctional services committee Dennis Bloem.
The NCOP's former chairperson, Mninwa Mahlangu, was elected for a second term after ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the ANC wanted some continuity in the Parliament.
Mahlangu said the NCOP would need to be more dynamic in working with provincial legislatures and the South African Local Government Association.
"We need to roll up our sleeves," Mahlangu said.