Jacob Zuma elected president after DA’s ‘frivolous objection’ fails

2014-05-21 17:47

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The new National Assembly has elected President Jacob Zuma unopposed for a second term as head of state after a failed bid by the Democratic Alliance to argue that he was not fit for the post.

After the ANC nominated Zuma, the DA’s James Selfe rose to ask that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng rule that he was not a “fit and proper person”, notably because of his inadequate response to reports from the Public Protector.

Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor countered that it was a “frivolous motion” because constitutionally, any member of the Assembly could be elected president.

The chief justice concurred that under section 86 of the Constitution this was the case and reminded members that, earlier in the day, Zuma was sworn in as one of the 400 members of the chamber.

“My ruling is therefore to dismiss the point raised without costs,” Mogoeng quipped, before confirming Zuma’s election as president.

The Assembly earlier elected ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete as Speaker after new MPs took their seats – ranging from the red-clad initiates of the EFF to veterans of the post-apartheid Parliament.

Mbete easily defeated the DA’s nominee for the post, former African National Congress Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela, who first defected to the Congress of the People and then to the official opposition in 2012.

Mbete won 260 votes compared with Balindlela’s 88. There were 366 ballots cast of which 18 were invalid.

Mbete had previously held the post from 2004 to 2008 and replaced the widely respected Max Sisulu, who was sworn in as an ordinary ANC MP today.

Outgoing cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Lechesa Tsenoli was elected unopposed as deputy Speaker.

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