#KnowYourSpeaker meets #BalekaMustGo in Mbete battle

2014-09-17 17:52

Parliament has started a “know your speaker” campaign on Twitter following the opposition parties’ defeat in a vote of no confidence in Speaker Baleka Mbete.

The official Twitter site @ParliamentofRSA sent out a number of tweets under the hashtag #KnowYourSpeaker with information about Mbete.

“National Assembly Speaker Ms Baleka Mbete used to teach Afrikaans, IsiZulu, English and history at a school in Durban,” read one tweet.

“Coming from a family of political activists, Ms Mbete would hold meetings with learners to give them political education.

“Her political education meetings soon drew the attention of the notorious special branch of the apartheid regime’s police,” read two others.

“It was not long before the apartheid police picked her up from school’s premises for giving learners political education.

“Ms Mbete would eventually go into exile. She sought refuge in countries such as Swaziland and Botswana.

“Ms Mbete would return to South Africa as part of the team to take part in Codesa negotiations.”

After trading insults with the ANC during a debate yesterday, opposition leaders walked out of the National Assembly. This allowed the ANC to easily defeat the opposition’s vote of no confidence in Mbete.

DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, who opened debate on the motion, led the walkout after ANC chief whip Stone Sizani sought to table an amendment which would have seen the vote turn into one of confidence in the Speaker instead.

As the DA, EFF and all other opposition parties were leaving the chamber, Sizani rose to withdraw his proposed amendment and suggested that since there was still a quorum – thanks to the ANC’s majority – MPs should proceed to vote on the original motion.

It was an unexpected outcome to an afternoon of fractious debate in which the DA and EFF were called losers and counter-revolutionaries by the ruling party as its secretary general Gwede Mantashe watched from the public gallery.

After a number of tweets about Mbete’s political background, @ParliamentofRSA started tweeting about “a typical day in the life” of the Speaker.

“A typical day in the life of National Assembly Speaker - Ms Mbete starts work from 6am and only goes to bed after midnight,” it tweeted.

Maimane started tweeting his own version.

“#KnowYourSpeaker Baleka Mbete has been deployed to parliament to make sure Zuma doesn’t have to answer tough questions. #BalekaMustGo,” read one of his tweets.

“#KnowYourSpeaker Mbete allows the security cluster to militarise Parly security to intimidate opposition MPs, therefore #BalekaMustGo,” he said in another tweet.

Parliament was criticised by other Twitter users for conflating Parliament and the ruling party.

Tweeter @sifiso_mlimi replied: “@ParliamentofRSA what’s this now?!, who’s account is this? Parliament’s or ANC’s?!”

“So this in an ANC parliament, not RSA parliament?” @ina_gouws asked.

Tweeter @thabokhumalo replied with “@ParliamentofRSA please refrain from abusing this account to promote the speakers image , she has nowhere to hide.”

@AiKozy said: “Mbete is there this time to be a shield of this thief ‘Jacob Zuma’ who has no blood to admit the damages he have done.”

Another tweeter @Juztfied_X said “#KnowYourSpeaker she was a speaker during president Mbeki now she came back to do things she didn’t do then.”

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