A morning of bungling as MPs nominate candidates for speaker of the National Assembly

22 May 2019 - 13:29 By THABO MOKONE
Thandi Modise has accepted the nomination for speaker of the National Assembly.
Thandi Modise has accepted the nomination for speaker of the National Assembly.
Image: Gallo Images

Newly elected MPs are voting for the position of National Assembly speaker in a secret ballot after the DA nominated its member, Richard Majola, to challenge the ANC's Thandi Modise for the position.               

The two parties made their nominations just before the lunch break on Wednesday, following a swearing-in ceremony presided over by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, during which new and returning MPs took the oath of office.

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But the nomination was not without glitches, as both the ANC and the DA committed administrative gaffes that were picked up by the chief justice and parliamentary officials assisting him.

Modise was nominated by planning, monitoring and evaluation minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, with former tourism minister Derek Hanekom seconding her candidacy.

After Modise accepted the nomination, the chief justice pointed out an administration error on the part of the governing party.

MPs who make up South Africa's sixth parliament were sworn in on May 22 2019. The ANC claimed 230 seats while main opposition parties the DA and EFF claimed 84 and 44 seats respectively.

"Some correction is called for. The form reflects that the nominee is already the speaker. It should reflect that the nominee is a member of the house.

"If we can redo it, please. You know South Africans are very litigious. If I don't get it right now, the next time we're in court about something we could have addressed," said Mogoeng.

"This is the first impression of the new (chief) whip, jissis," quipped EFF leader Julius Malema.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen then moved to nominate Majola, with his deputy, Mike Waters, seconding him.

But like the ANC, there was a bungle on their side.

"The nomination is not in order," said the chief justice, to which some sections of the house shouted, "oh no".

"Let me explain, one next to the name of the street something has been cancelled, but there's no signature...

"And two, it's just reflected as Plein Street. Now it can be a Long Street. We need to know the exact location.

"Just to make things easier, we will just furnish the nominating member with another and a bigger nomination form so that it can be completed, please," said the chief justice, before adjourning the house for lunch, which was due to be followed by a secret ballot.

Modise was expected to defeat Majola, given the ANC's majority of 230 members in the house, as opposed to the DA's 84.