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WRAP | Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula elected as Speaker of Parliament

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The author argues that the ANC was playing party roulette when it chose Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as its Speaker of Parliament candidate.
The author argues that the ANC was playing party roulette when it chose Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as its Speaker of Parliament candidate.
Phill Magakoe, Gallo Images
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19 Aug 2021

ANALYSIS | Ultimately, what we have seen today is an illustration of how the ANC sees Parliament as subservient to Luthuli House. The wheels were set in motion when Ramaphosa appointed Modise to his cabinet, and cryptically added that Mapisa-Nqakula will be deployed elsewhere.

It soon became apparent that "elsewhere" meant the National Assembly, when the ANC caucus elected her its candidate after ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe made it clear that she is the ANC leadership's preferred candidate. The EFF is right when it says the executive meddled with the leadership of another branch of state.

This adds another burden for Mapisa-Nqakula to bear: in order to win the opposition's respect, she not only has to lay questions about her own conduct as minister to rest, she also has to prove that she isn't just another ANC party hack.

– Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

ANALYSIS | In her brief address to the National Assembly after her election as Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the right things: Parliament's role to ensure accountability and oversight, fostering cooperation between parties, that she'll serve the interest of all parties. 

However, it is easy to say these things, it's another to put it into practice – particularly for a senior member of the ANC. She was elected to the Speaker's chair with vehement opposition from the two biggest opposition parties – the DA and EFF – which stretches beyond opposition for opposition's sake.

The DA contends that she is not suitable for the position and the EFF has a problem with how she became the ANC's nominee, seeing the executive's hand and ANC's internal machinations in the process.

Her commitment to Parliament's oversight role over the executive – not something she has shown much regard for when she was a minister – will be tested. Parliament will inquire into the security clusters' handling of the recent unrest and the Joint Standing Committee on Defence will conduct an inquiry on the allegations that she received money and gifts from a SANDF contractor.

– Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

Axed Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is the new National Assembly Speaker

After being roundly rejected by all opposition parties, axed Defence and Military Veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been elected Speaker of the National Assembly.

Mapisa-Nqakula was elected with the 199 supporting votes. Voting was done by way of secret ballot after the official opposition DA fielded an opposing candidate, forcing the vote.

The second-biggest opposition party, the EFF, did not take part in the process.

"I am particularly emotional today having been nominated for this position. I also felt great pride as a member of this house and as a South African observing this moment. It is upon this foundation that Parliament has stood. All our people represented here in this Parliament should always feel comfortable that all their interest will have due consideration here," she said.

Mapisa-Nqakula said all branches of the state should work together in addressing the nation's problems.

On 5 August, the position of a co-head of a branch of government became vacant when President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Speaker Thandi Modise as Defence and Military Veterans Minister in Mapisa-Nqakula's stead.

He cryptically said that she would be "deployed to a new position".

Earlier this month, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina called a special ANC caucus meeting, addressed by ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe, who, according to News24's understanding, made it clear that Mapisa-Nqakula is the ANC leadership's preferred candidate.

As is often the case, Mantashe's wish from Luthuli House came to pass in the caucus.

The DA's candidate, Annelie Lotriet, garnered 82 votes.

-Jason Felix

<p><strong>Axed Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is the new National Assembly Speaker</strong></p><p>After being roundly rejected by all opposition parties, axed Defence and Military Veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been elected Speaker of the National Assembly.</p><p>Mapisa-Nqakula was elected with the 199 supporting votes. Voting was done by way of secret ballot after the official opposition DA fielded an opposing candidate, forcing the vote.</p><p>The second-biggest opposition party, the EFF, did not take part in the process.</p><p>"I am particularly emotional today having been nominated for this position. I also felt great pride as a member of this house and as a South African observing this moment. It is upon this foundation that Parliament has stood. All our people represented here in this Parliament should always feel comfortable that all their interest will have due consideration here," she said.</p><p>Mapisa-Nqakula said all branches of the state should work together in addressing the nation's problems.</p><p>On 5 August, the position of a co-head of a branch of government became vacant when President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Speaker Thandi Modise as Defence and Military Veterans Minister in Mapisa-Nqakula's stead. </p><p>He cryptically said that she would be "deployed to a new position".</p><p>Earlier this month, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina called a special ANC caucus meeting, addressed by ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe, who, according to News24's understanding, made it clear that Mapisa-Nqakula is the ANC leadership's preferred candidate.</p><p>As is often the case, Mantashe's wish from Luthuli House came to pass in the caucus.</p><p>The DA's candidate, Annelie Lotriet, garnered 82 votes.</p><p><em>-Jason Felix</em></p>

19 Aug 2021

COMMENT | Mapisa-Nqakula tellingly greeted the "members of the executive" after she took the speaker's seat.

She was a member of the executive for 19 years.

Now she heads the branch of state that is constitutionally mandated to exercise oversight over the executive.

She does acknowledge that she has been a member of the executive for a long time, and that there will be a transitional period.

- Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

Voting is completed. Proceedings have been suspended to allow for ballots to be counted.

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

Voting is proceeding at a steady pace

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

DA leader John Steenhuisen proceeds to cast his ballot

- Jason Felix

<p>DA leader John Steenhuisen proceeds to cast his ballot </p><p>- Jason Felix</p>

19 Aug 2021

COMMENT | It might be worthwhile to cast our minds back to when Thandi Modise was elected speaker on 22 May 2019 after the elections.

As it did today, the DA put forward its own candidate – Richard Majola, who previously serves as Speaker of the Western Cape legislature.

However, I don't recall the DA being as staunchly opposed to Modise's candidature as it is to Mapisa-Nqakula.

Majola was defeated with 250 votes to 83. There were 17 spoilt ballots.

The EFF abstained – it was the same sitting in which MPs got sworn in for the new term, so unlike today, they couldn't boycott proceedings.

That outcome meant that only the DA voted for Majola and that Modise got some opposition votes.

It wouldn't be surprising if the DA would get some support from opposition parties today.

– Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is called to cast her vote

- Jason Felix

<p>Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is called to cast her vote </p><p>- Jason Felix</p>

19 Aug 2021

Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina among the group of MPs who have just been called to cast their ballots

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

Deputy President David Mabuza makes his way to a voting booth

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

COMMENT | Even though it is difficult to be certain with MPs not sitting at their usual seats and some MPs being in a different room, it appears that Vuyo Zungula of the ATM is not present.

He wrote a letter to Tsenoli yesterday, indicating his unhappiness about the arrangements for the sitting, which he views as a contravention of lockdown regulations.

"The law must equally apply to all citizens of South Africa, especially those elected by the members of the public in making such laws, and not be bent at the will of such lawmakers," he wrote.

"I advise that Parliament revisits its plans for the election of a new Speaker, and come up with ways consistent with lockdown regulations enforced to the general population and communities of South Africa because the inability to do so would mean Parliament itself is in contravention of lockdown regulations, and all Members of Parliament gathered should be arrested, as ordinary citizens would." 

It is, of course, ludicrous to suggest that MPs should be arrested for conducting their constitutionally required business, even more so from a MP in a democracy.

Zungula appears unaware of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act.

Section 7(c) of this Act states a person may not "threaten or obstruct a member proceeding to or going from a meeting of Parliament or a House or committee".

- Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

Voting has started. DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach among the first group to cast their ballots

- Jason Felix

<p>Voting has started. DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach among the first group to cast their ballots </p><p>- Jason Felix</p>

19 Aug 2021

Parliamentary staff ensures ballot boxes are empty, before voting starts

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

MPs are back in the National Assembly chamber and proceedings will resume. Voting will now start, and it could take up to two hours for all MPs to cast their ballots

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

On Wednesday, Mabuza Attorneys, acting on behalf of eNCA show host Dr Onkgopotse JJ Tabane, political analyst Lukhona Mnguni and the New Nation Movement (NNM), wrote in a lawyer's letter to deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, who is acting speaker until a new speaker is elected, that a decision to elect Mapisa-Nqakula was reportedly imposed on members of the ANC caucus by, among others, Mantashe, and that individual ANC MPs failed to exercise the dictates of their consciences, in that they simply acceded to the instruction from Mantashe.

"President Ramaphosa improperly and incorrectly conflated his role as president of the Republic and president of the ANC; Ms Mapisa-Nqakula is not a fit and proper person to occupy the important position of Speaker of the National Assembly and her nomination to that position is self-evidently irrational," reads the letter.

They want steps to be taken to prevent the election from taking place - and, if it takes place, it must be by secret ballot (which is in any case required by law and part of Parliament's preparations), and reasons for Parliament's actions.

"Failure to act as aforesaid may result in our clients approaching the court for appropriate relief," the letter read.

Tsenoli responded today in a letter of his own.

He said the Constitution requires the National Assembly to elect a speaker from its members without delay when a vacancy arises, in terms of a schedule of the Constitution.  

"I cannot anticipate the nominations that may arise or the voting outcome, and have no discretion in how the process must be managed," wrote Tsenoli.  

– Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

COMMENT | One might think that the DA is wasting everybody's time by nominating a candidate when it knows that the ANC has the required majority to force through its candidate.

However, the party – who has strong objections to Mapisa-Nqakula becoming Speaker – would argue that as official opposition it has a duty to put up a candidate against what it considers an objectionable candidate from the governing party.

A mutiny in the ANC benches seems highly unlikely, and those most likely to go rogue would certainly not vote for a DA candidate. Keep in mind that the ANC MPs who were opposed to the vote to impeach Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in March said their opposition stemmed from the fact that it was a DA motion (there was obviously much more to it).

The EFF's absence also won't have much of an impact – they too are most unlikely to vote for a DA MP to become Speaker, and if they put forward a candidate of their own, it would only have been supported by themselves.

– Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

COMMENT | The voting process could take some time.

A cumbersome process at the best of times, it is further complicated by the adherence to social distancing protocols.

This is the first full sitting of the National Assembly since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Some MPs are in the public gallery, and others are in room E249, right above the National Assembly Chamber.

- Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

Parliamentary staff prepare voting booths

- Jason Felix

<p>Parliamentary staff prepare voting booths </p><p>- Jason Felix</p>

19 Aug 2021

COMMENT | Note the absence of the EFF. The party said it would not take part in proceedings.

It said that by appointing former speaker Thandi Modise to his cabinet, President Cyril Ramaphosa effectively removed the Speaker - the co-head of a branch of government.

The ANC leadership, through Gwede Mantashe, also made it clear to the ANC caucus that Mapisa-Nqkula is its preferred candidate.

"For a head of the executive to chop and change Speaker of Parliament, as and when he wishes, undermines the spirit of South Africa's constitutional democracy," the EFF said in a statement on Wednesday.

- Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

ANC MPs now singing Struggle Songs

19 Aug 2021

Voting will now start and it will be done by way of secret ballot. Only MPs present in the parliamentary precinct will be able to vote.

The sitting has been suspended for parliamentary officials to prepare voting booths.

- Jason Felix

<p>Voting will now start and it will be done by way of secret ballot. Only MPs present in the parliamentary precinct will be able to vote. </p><p>The sitting has been suspended for parliamentary officials to prepare voting booths.</p><p>- Jason Felix</p>

19 Aug 2021

There are no further nominations - Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

Freedom Front Plus chief whip Pieter Mulder wants to open the floor for additional nominations.
Freedom Front Plus chief whip Pieter Mulder wants to open the floor for additional nominations.

19 Aug 2021

Lotriet, just nominated by DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone, is the DA's caucus chairperson. She also serves on the as hoc committee on Section 25.

19 Aug 2021

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone nominates Annelie Lotriet for the position of Speaker. DA leader John Steenhuisen rises to supports Lotriet’s nomination.

19 Aug 2021

Judge President Hlophe calls for nominations.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina nominates Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu seconds Mapisa-Nqakula's nomination.

<p>Judge President Hlophe calls for nominations. </p><p>ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina nominates Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu seconds Mapisa-Nqakula's nomination.</p>

19 Aug 2021

Judge President John Hlophe of the Western Cape High Court takes the Speaker’s seat to preside over the sitting.

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

This is how the process should unfold: The sitting is scheduled to start at 11:00.

As provided in the Constitution, the Chief Justice or a designated Judge must preside over the election of the NA Speaker. Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has designated Judge President John Hlophe, of the Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa, to preside over this special sitting.

The Acting Chief Justice has also approved the rules for the election process.

Hlophe will open the sitting and then call for nominations for the position of Speaker from the members of the NA.

If there is more than one nomination, Hlophe will call for the voting process to be conducted by secret ballot. Although the sitting is divided into four areas, the floor of the NA Chamber will serve as the voting station. Four voting booths have been arranged to enable four members at a time to cast their votes.

The entire voting process is expected to last for about four hours, with at least one hour dedicated to counting the votes.

As soon as the voting is completed, Hlophe will suspend proceedings to count the votes.

Officials of Parliament, designated as the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officers, will remove the ballot boxes and all papers from the NA Chamber to a room to be counted. The votes will be counted in Hlophe's presence, and only he and the designated Returning Officer and assistants to the Returning Officer may be present in the room.

Once the votes have been counted, the Returning Officer must report to Hlophe, informing him of the result of the counting of the votes. On receiving this report, the House will reconvene, and Judge Hlophe will announce the election's outcome.

The Returning Officer must retain the nomination papers, the used ballot papers and their counterfoils in a sealed packet for at least one year. The sealed packet may not be opened, except by order of a court.

After Hlophe announces the outcome of the secret ballot in the sitting, the duly elected Speaker will immediately take over the presiding chair and address the House.

<p>This is how the process should unfold: The sitting is scheduled to start at 11:00.</p><p>As provided in the Constitution, the Chief Justice or a designated Judge must preside over the election of the NA Speaker. Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has designated Judge President John Hlophe, of the Western Cape Division of the High Court of South Africa, to preside over this special sitting.</p><p>The Acting Chief Justice has also approved the rules for the election process.</p><p>Hlophe will open the sitting and then call for nominations for the position of Speaker from the members of the NA.</p><p>If there is more than one nomination, Hlophe will call for the voting process to be conducted by secret ballot. Although the sitting is divided into four areas, the floor of the NA Chamber will serve as the voting station. Four voting booths have been arranged to enable four members at a time to cast their votes.</p><p>The entire voting process is expected to last for about four hours, with at least one hour dedicated to counting the votes.</p><p>As soon as the voting is completed, Hlophe will suspend proceedings to count the votes.</p><p>Officials of Parliament, designated as the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officers, will remove the ballot boxes and all papers from the NA Chamber to a room to be counted. The votes will be counted in Hlophe's presence, and only he and the designated Returning Officer and assistants to the Returning Officer may be present in the room.</p><p>Once the votes have been counted, the Returning Officer must report to Hlophe, informing him of the result of the counting of the votes. On receiving this report, the House will reconvene, and Judge Hlophe will announce the election's outcome.</p><p>The Returning Officer must retain the nomination papers, the used ballot papers and their counterfoils in a sealed packet for at least one year. The sealed packet may not be opened, except by order of a court.</p><p>After Hlophe announces the outcome of the secret ballot in the sitting, the duly elected Speaker will immediately take over the presiding chair and address the House.</p>

19 Aug 2021

The National Assembly sitting to elect a new House Speaker has started.

- Jason Felix

19 Aug 2021

The DA will put forward Annelie Lotriet as its candidate for Speaker. They will have to nominate her from the floor. This will force a vote by secret ballot.

- Jan Gerber

19 Aug 2021

Media personality, political movement question Mapisa-Nqakula's candidacy for Speaker

The soon-to-be Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is already causing a stir, hours before she is set to be elected to the highest seat of the national legislature.

FOLLOW THE STORY ON NEWS24

19 Aug 2021

EXCLUSIVE | Jets, hotels and wigs: MPs investigate graft allegations against Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who is expected to be confirmed as the new National Assembly Speaker on Thursday, is under investigation for allegedly receiving a R5 million bribe from a defence contractor, blowing R7 million on aircraft charters and living it up at luxury hotels.  

GET THE DETAILS

19 Aug 2021

Why Mapisa-Nqakula's imminent election as Speaker has sparked controversy

By the time the National Assembly elects Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as its Speaker on Thursday afternoon, her term will already be mired in controversy.

TAP HERE FOR THE STORY
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