Nosiviwe Nqakula’s imminent election drama

Nosiviwe Nqakula's imminent election drama
PARLIAMENTARY SMACKDOWN: The National Assembly is faced with a dilemma to either postpone the voting in of a new speaker or face legal action, this as the ANC puts former Defence minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's name forward. PICTURE BY News24

She is set to be elected as a speaker of the National Assembly later today, Thursday 19 August 2021.

Drama is expected to play out in the imminent election of former defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as speaker of Parliament later today.

Already opposition parties have voiced their concerns, accusing President Cyril Ramaphosa of imposing a candidate on the National Assembly. 

In terms of the separation of powers, Ramaphosa is not allowed to hire and fire the head of another arm of the state.

They say Ramaphosa’s announcement that Mapisa-Nqakula would be appointed “elsewhere” after being sacked from his cabinet and with ANC’s national chairperson Gwede Mantashe instructing the ANC parliamentary caucus to select Mapisa-Nqakula as speaker was proof that Ramaphosa has “conflated” his position.

Various sections of civil society have called for the election to be held in a secret ballot.

The DA is expected to put forward the name of its candidate for the vacant post of speaker, which will force the national assembly to do a secret vote.

The EFF said they will not participate in this, instead, they have consulted their lawyers to establish whether it was permissible for Ramaphosa “to hire and fire the head of another arm of the state”.

“We have taken a correct decision to not participate in rubber stamping Mr Cyril Ramaphosa’s violation of the separation of powers, which is one of the most important pillars of South Africa’s constitutional democratic order,” they said in a statement. 

Journalist JJ Tabane and political analyst Lukhanyo Mnguni have called for the National Assembly to do the election via a secret ballot, threatening to go to court if that doesn’t happen.

“The decision by the ANC parliamentary caucus shows that President Cyril Ramaphosa improperly and incorrectly conflated his role as the president of the country and the African National Congress (ANC),” Mnguni and Tabane said.   

“Mapisa-Nqakula is not 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,” said Mnguni and Tabane in a letter they sent to deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

The position of the speaker of the national assembly became vacant after a cabinet reshuffle by Ramaphosa on 5 August 2021 where he ousted Mapisa-Nqakula as the minister of defence and military veterans replacing her with then speaker, Thandi Modise and leaving the post of speaker vacant. 

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe said whoever was opposed to take the decision to appoint Mapisa-Nqakula must first be a member of Parliament.

“The ANC is a party duly represented in parliament. It is a majority party for that matter and it ensures that it canvasses its views appropriately among all its members who sit in the relevant caucus so that when they sit in Parliament they are able to reflect and respond to the desires of the party,” Mabe told the SABC

(edited by MGB)

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