Former Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will be the next speaker of the National Assembly. Her pending deployment was announced at a meeting of the African National Congress’s (ANC) top leaders on Tuesday morning. This nomination follows last week’s announcements of new changes to the National Executive by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The party has reportedly released a statement declaring that the ANC Parliamentary Caucus welcomes and congratulates Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as their candidate to be the next speaker of the National Assembly. Deputy Speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli had been holding down the fort in an acting capacity since Thandi Modise was promoted to Cabinet as defence minister.
Until last week, Mapisa-Nqakula had served as a Minister of Defence and Military Veterans from June 2012 to August 2021. Previously, she was Minister of Home Affairs from 2004 to 2009 and Minister of Correctional Services from 2009 to 2012, as well as serving as Deputy Minister of Home Affairs from 6 May 2002 to 28 April 2004. The ANC believes former Minister Mapisa-Nqakula brings a formidable wealth of experience to the new position with a solid track- record as a legislator and policy maker spanning over a number of years.
Parliament is currently in recess but will reconvene next week. Deputy Speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli is the acting speaker. A date for the elections of the new speaker will be determined with the office of the Chief Justice, as the chief Justice or a judge designated by him must preside over the proceedings. A simple majority is needed for the election of a speaker, so with the ANC’s majority it is apparent that Mapisa-Nqakula will take the position.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) will consider its options during its Thursday caucus. This could include fielding a different candidate, or indicating dissatisfaction by voting against the former defence minister now turning speaker. “Mapisa-Nqakula has one of the worst parliamentary attendance records and also a bad track record on question replies. She is a person who has shown executive mindedness and will not defend Parliament,” DA leader John Steenhuisen daily Maverick.