Mbete is ‘anxious over job prospects’ after elections

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Baleka Mbete, the speaker the fifth of Parliament, is anxious as to what her future holds and whether she will be out of a job or not. PICTURE: Gallo Images/Ziyaad Douglas
Baleka Mbete, the speaker the fifth of Parliament, is anxious as to what her future holds and whether she will be out of a job or not. PICTURE: Gallo Images/Ziyaad Douglas

National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete is anxious about whether or not she will return to Parliament following this year’s May polls.

Mbete made the admission when asked a question on Wednesday morning, after giving a state of readiness address to the media ahead of next week’s state of the nation address.

The ceremony on Thursday, February 7, will also be the final state of the nation address for the fifth and current Parliament.

When asked if she felt relief that the end of her term had arrived, Mbete said she was more anxious than relieved.

“It is a time of anxiety, it is not relief. It is actually a time of anxiety because you don’t know what is coming in the next couple of months, unlike an ordinary South African who has a job and knows that they have that job up till the end of the year or for the foreseeable future. That our names are on lists [of ANC members to be considered to represent the party] is just one thing. But for all I know, beyond the election we might be sitting right at the back as backbenchers and we will have to learn from scratch how to be good backbenchers who still continue to play a role and contribute towards the betterment of the country. So it is just that anxiety of not knowing where you are heading after the elections,” Mbete speaker said.

Mbete had been accused over the last few turbulent sittings of the Jacob Zuma presidency of giving him preferential treatment and protecting him from accountability.

The speaker threw her hat in the ring to succeed Zuma as ANC president at the party’s national elective conference in December 2017. During that conference, Mbete withdrew from the race at the eleventh hour, announcing that she would be throwing her weight behind then deputy president (of the ANC and the country) Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa defeated former African Union chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – who had the backing of the former president – by a close margin to succeed Zuma and ultimately become the president of the republic.

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