NCOP MPs sworn in, including former political prisoner Kenny Motsamai

The ANC's candidates for positions in the National Council of Provinces were elected unopposed on Thursday, meaning that Amos Masondo is the chairperson of this house of Parliament.

His deputy is former Northern Cape premier Sylvia Lucas, while Seiso Mohai is the NCOP's chief whip.

Their election took place after the swearing in of the 90 permanent delegates to the NCOP.

Before the swearing in, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who is constitutionally mandated to preside over these proceedings, said one of the members to be sworn in had been convicted of a crime and was currently on parole.

He was referring to EFF MP Kenny Motsamai, who was convicted of murder in 1989 and served 27 years in prison. Motsamai was imprisoned for killing a white traffic officer in Rustenburg during what the Azanian People's Liberation Army called a sanctioned bank robbery. He was released on parole in 2017.

Section 47 (1)(e) of the Constitution states that anyone convicted of an offence after the Constitution took effect - and was sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment, without the option of a fine - may not become a member of Parliament within five years of the sentence being completed. 

Mogoeng explained that it was clear that the limitation excluded people who had been convicted before the Constitution came into effect in 1996.

EFF MPs in the NCOP chamber and public gallery applauded. The swearing in of MPs proceeded, with EFF members and MPs from the National Assembly loudly cheering their red-clad colleagues on and encouraging them to "vosho". Some responded, with Nkagisang Koni's dancing worthy of her commander-in-chief's dance in the National Assembly the day before.

'KFC!"

Thereafter, it was the election of the officials, with Mogoeng presiding over the election of Masondo.

When Lucas was nominated, the EFF contingent in the public gallery shouted "KFC!", in reference to an incident in 2013 when Lucas allegedly spent R53 159 on fast food during her first 10 weeks in office, with the use of her official credit card.

Thereafter, the leaders of the provincial delegations were allowed to address the house, with a common theme that they must work together to the benefit of all South Africans, taking a cue from President Cyril Ramaphosa's short speech after his election on Wednesday.

Watching the proceedings was Thandi Modise, who was elected speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday. She was the chairperson of the NCOP in the previous term.

DA MP Jaco Londt, who spoke on behalf of the Western Cape delegation, thanked Modise for her service during the previous term.

"She was chairperson of the NCOP, not the ANC," he said.

North West Premier Job Mokgoro said his province was still overseen by a committee of the NCOP and that the focus must be on stabilising public service in the province. 

He also asked that more emphasis be placed on the "ailing municipalities" in his province.

'Trust people put in us should not be taken lightly'

Gauteng Premier David Makhura asked that the NCOP review the size of the provincial legislature, with the view to increasing it, as its membership didn't reflect the size of the province's population. 

Mohai said, despite their differing political alliances, all the members should work together to represent South Africans.

"The trust people put in us should not be taken lightly," he said.

Lucas had a similar message. She said the members must collectively build a representative forum for the people of South Africa.

Masondo quoted Nelson Mandela when he said the NCOP was uniquely placed to reflect the diversity of the country.

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