The ANC Parliamentary Caucus has nominated former Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as the party’s candidate for Speaker of the National Assembly.
The Caucus confirmed the nomination in a statement on Tuesday (10 August) after a meeting addressed by ANC National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe.
‘Wealth of experience’
“As a former Chief Whip of the majority party in Parliament in 2001 as well as Deputy Chairperson of the ANC Political Committee as well as Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, former Minister Mapisa-Nqakula brings a formidable wealth of experience to the position with a solid track record as a legislator and policymaker spanning a number of years,” Caucus spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota said.
In his Cabinet reshuffle last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced current Speaker Thandi Modise as the new Defence Minister replacing Mapisa-Nqakula, whom he said would be “deployed to a new position.”
Mapisa-Nqakula was among Ministers in the security cluster, along with Police Minister Bheki Cele and former State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, who were criticised for the government’s slow response to the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Ramaphosa kept Cele as Police Minister, but moved Dlodlo to the Public Service ministry. He abolished the State Security Ministry and shifted its political responsibility to the Presidency, with Zizi Kodwa moving there as Deputy Minister.
‘Not imposing Mapisa-Nqakula’
According to a TimesLIVE report, Mantashe told the Caucus that the ANC leadership was not imposing Mapisa-Nqakula, but was “putting her up as a candidate.”
“We are throwing that to Caucus because Caucus has the authority to deal with that issue. We hope she will be a candidate and will be selected as Speaker,” he reportedly said.
With 230 MPs in the 400-member National Assembly, the ANC’s candidate will most likely emerge as the Speaker. Elections are usually held via secret ballot.
Mapisa-Nqakula had served as Defence and Military Veterans Minister from 2012. Previously, she served as Home Affairs Minister (2004-2009), Correctional Services Minister (2009-2012) and Correctional Services Deputy Minister (2002-2004).
Her stint in Ramaphosa’s administration was however troubled. Last year, he docked her salary for three months after she included an ANC delegation in her official SANDF flight to Zimbabwe.
During the unrest in July, she came under fire for seemingly contradicting Ramaphosa’s comment that the unrest was an “attempted insurrection.”