ANC to use majority to 'push through' appointment of Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

19 August 2021 - 11:27 By nonkululeko njilo
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is likely to be elected as the National Assembly's new speaker. File photo.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is likely to be elected as the National Assembly's new speaker. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deaan Vivier

The ANC is set to use its majority in parliament to push through its nominated candidate for National Assembly speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, after she has been roundly rejected by most opposition parties.

The National Assembly is meeting on Thursday to elect a new speaker, through a secret ballot, after the position became vacant when Thandi Modise was appointed defence and military veterans’ minister during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent cabinet reshuffle.

The National Assembly speaker is elected from its 400 members. With 230 members, the ANC’s candidate is most likely to succeed.

The DA has announced Dr Annelie Lotriet as its candidate to compete against Mapisa-Nqakula. DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said its candidate was better suited for the job and hoped for the support of other opposition parties.

“We intend to fight back with everything we have to stop the ANC from simply putting someone inept and incapable of doing the job in charge of one of the most important arms of the executive,” Mazzone said during an interview with Newzroom Afrika.

“We are putting very proudly [Lotriet] as a candidate to stand against the former minister. We are hoping that the opposition will join us in voting for a very upstanding, very well-known and very respected member of parliament.”

IFP chief whip Narend Singh said they were also unhappy with Mapisa-Nqakula’s nomination.

“The position needs somebody we, as the house of parliament, can have extreme confidence in. And unfortunately, as far as the IFP is concerned, the person the ANC has nominated does not crown herself in glory in all the other positions she held, and there are lot of concerns hanging over her head, so one is very surprised that the ANC would put up the former minister as speaker candidate.”

Both the DA and IFP said it was a disgrace that the ANC would suggest Mapisa-Nqakula to replace Modise, who was highly respected by all.

“We had extreme confidence in the former speaker and I think that’s why she enjoyed the support of all in the house. She was firm, somebody we looked up to, she was forthright in her position, she didn’t take sides,” said Singh. Mazzone described Modise as, “someone who was loved by parliament and deeply respected by members of parliament”.

The IFP said it would consider voting for the DA candidate.

The EFF said it would not take part in the election which it described as “rubber-stamping Ramaphosa's violation of the separation of powers”.

“The EFF will on this basis not participate in rubber-stamping factional politics and arrangements that seek to undermine SA's constitutional order and democracy.”

The red berets said they would instead explore the legal route. “We will consult with our legal representatives to establish whether it is conditionally permissible for a head of state and government to hire and fire the head of another important division of the state, which is parliament.

“We, as the EFF, will not be part of undermining SA's democratic order and will do everything in our power to fight against Ramaphosa's emerging 'despotic order',” said the EFF.

Meanwhile, the New Nation Movement has written to the deputy speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, raising concern about Mapisa-Nqakula’s fitness to hold office.

The movement says her nomination is unconstitutional conduct by Ramaphosa to impose a deployee on an independent arm of the state to hold its government accountable.

Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo has designated judge president John Hlophe to preside over the special sitting scheduled for 11am.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said “it was all systems go”.

The special sitting will see many MPs return to the parliamentary precinct for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19. Coronavirus restrictions resulted in sittings, including the state of the nation address, held in hybrid sessions.

Mothapo said the election would take place in two venues, in light of health and safety protocols.

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