Thandi Modise elected National Assembly Speaker, Tsenoli returns as her deputy

2019-05-22 16:54
Thandi Modise in the National Assembly, minutes before she was announced as the speaker of the National Assembly. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Thandi Modise in the National Assembly, minutes before she was announced as the speaker of the National Assembly. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Thandi Modise was elected speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon.

The DA put up Richard Majola as its candidate for speaker, but he was defeated with 250 votes to 83. There were 17 spoilt ballots.

This means that only the DA voted for Majola and that Modise got some opposition votes.

The EFF abstained from voting.

Lechesa Tsenoli was elected unopposed to return as deputy speaker.

Earlier, as the then yet-to-be-sworn in MPs were mingling on the precinct and making their way to the National Assembly, the general vibe was like the first day of a new school year.

The EFF caucus - which swelled from 25 members to 44 - congregated in front of the NCOP while other MPs made their way to the National Assembly. They entered as group, dancing, while Good party leader Patricia de Lille greeted Mangosuthu Buthelezi. 

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is constitutionally required to preside over the swearing in. Before the time for meditation or prayer, he asked the soon-to-be MPs to seriously consider the country's challenges in their meditation or prayer.

He made it clear that MPs would be swearing "obedience to the Constitution". In 2016, Mogoeng delivered a scathing judgment that Parliament had failed in its constitutional duties in the way that it dealt with the Nkandla matter.

Lechesa Tsenoli
Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.  (File, Nasief Manie, Netwerk24)  

After the meditation or prayers, the national anthem was sung, with the EFF sitting down for the Afrikaans and English part. 

The first name called to be sworn in was "Ramaphosa, Matamela Cyril", followed by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Ten MPs were called at a time, belonging to the same party (except the smaller parties which had less than 10 MPs, who were bunched together).

Malema dances, De Lille cheered

When EFF leader Julius Malema was called, he made his way to the front, performing a popular dance called the "vosho", to cheers from the red berets.

When De Lille walked to the front to be sworn in, the EFF cheered her on, but from her former party, the DA, there was silence. After her swearing in, she shook hands with Malema.

The name of Tito Mboweni was called, but he wasn't present. A few minutes later he took his seat next to Lindiwe Sisulu. When the very last group of MPs was called, Mboweni was called again, and he took his place close to the EFF benches.

With all members sworn in, the attention shifted to the election of the speaker. Mogoeng was still constitutionally mandated to preside. The ANC nominated Modise, who was chairperson of the National Council of Provinces in the 5th Parliament. Dlamini-Zuma nominated Modise and Derek Hanekom seconded the nomination.

Thandi Modise
Speaker Thandi Modise, (File, Netwerk24)

"Chief Justice, I accept," Modise said, smiling as cheers came from the ANC benches and public gallery.

Mogoeng then raised an objection, saying the nominee form referred to Modise as "speaker" and not as a "member".

"You know South Africans are very litigious. If we don’t get it correct now, next time we’ll be in court for something we could have addressed," he said.

Honourable errors

Malema then chipped in. "First impression of the new whip… Jissis," he said, criticising new ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina's error.  

After an amendment, Mogoeng accepted the nomination.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen nominated Richard Majola as speaker. Majola was previously speaker of the Western Cape legislature. Mike Waters seconded the nomination.

"BOOOOOOO!" was heard from the ANC benches as Majolaa accepted the nomination.

He too had to correct his nomination form before Mogoeng accepted it, which was without a full street address.

Mogoeng then asked if any other party wanted to nominate a candidate for speaker.

The FF Plus’s Corné Mulder took the opportunity to inform the House that they would not nominate anybody for speaker.

"Thank you, honourable Mulder," said Mogoeng.

Mogoeng suspended proceedings to prepare ballot papers.  After lunch, the vote took place.

It took more than an hour to count the votes, and the announcement was made shortly before 16:00.

Read more on:    parliament  |  lechesa tsenoli  |  thandi modise  |  cape town  |  politics  |  elections 2019

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