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'A mockery,' says DA on Mapisa-Nqakula's nomination as speaker

Former minister of defence and military veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been recommended by the ANC to be National Assembly speaker. File photo.
Former minister of defence and military veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been recommended by the ANC to be National Assembly speaker. File photo.

The DA has slammed the ANC's decision to recommend former minister of defence and military veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as National Assembly speaker.

Mapisa-Nqakula was axed as minister in President Cyril Ramaphosa's cabinet reshuffle last week after the government's poor handling of the riots which gripped parts of Gauteng and KZN. She was not retained in any capacity, with Ramaphosa saying during the reshuffle that she would be deployed to a new position.

Thandi Modise replaced her as minister, leaving the speaker of the National Assembly position vacant — and ANC national chair Gwede Mantashe announced Mapisa-Nqakula as candidate for the position at a special caucus meeting on Tuesday.

The opposition DA, however, said the decision to nominate her was a “complete mockery of parliament and the constitution”.

“While the ANC seeks to give a glowing account of Mapisa-Nqakula’s tenure in government, the reality is that there is nothing to celebrate. She is not fit to lead parliament as she does not espouse the principles of accountability and transparency required to lead the institution. This nomination is just an example of the ANC recycling an underperforming minister,” said DA chief whip Natasha Mazonne.

The party cited various concerns with Mapisa-Nqakula, including that she had not been held to account for allegedly smuggling a Burundian woman, who had been in a romantic relationship with her late son, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to SA aboard an air force jet.

“She also famously oversaw the ANC’s jaunt to Zimbabwe on-board an air force jet which was a violation of lockdown regulations and also a brazen abuse of state resources.

“It was under her watch and knowledge that the South African Defence Force (SANDF) purchased the unregistered interferon drug from Cuba,” Mazonne said.

The speaker is elected from the National Assembly's 400 members by secret ballot. With 230 members, the ANC’s candidate is most likely to succeed.

The DA said it would not support Mapisa-Nqakula's nomination.

“There are clearly numerous instances of her seemingly abusing her position of power and disregarding ethics standards for her own political and personal gain,” said Mazzone.

“How can the ANC nominate and support an individual whose track record is one of contempt of the very principles which parliament seeks to uphold and promote?”

Parliament is yet to announce the date for the new speaker’s election.


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