Baleka Mbete returns to the Parliamentary hot seat

2014-08-19 14:59

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Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete is back at work, presiding over today’s opening session of the house.

City Press reported on Sunday that Mbete (64) had a life-threatening health scare that was so serious she was transferred from 2 Military Hospital back to Pretoria’s 1 Military Hospital by military plane.

She had not taken her seat in Parliament until today, when she oversaw a plenary session and imperiously took charge – at one point ordering the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu to “sit down, honourable member – you don’t have the right to be on this floor” when he interjected on a point of order.

Wearing an orange, patterned top, Mbete looked in good health.

Details of her illness are being kept under wraps, but City Press learnt that she was accompanied on her flight by two doctors, who considered taking a defibrillator – a machine used to treat life-threatening heart conditions – with them on the plane.

Mbete was well enough to walk aboard the jet, dressed in pyjamas and wrapped in a blanket, according to sources.

The flight took place on July 25, three days after Mbete delivered Parliament’s budget speech in the National Assembly.

Mbete has been noticeably absent from Parliament since being sworn in as speaker in June. She was spotted only twice more: for her budget speech and to chair a committee meeting.

According to Parliament, Mbete was booked off “to rest and rebuild her strength” on June 18, the day after President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address.

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