Mbete appointed as speaker of Parliament

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pretoria - African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson Baleka Mbete has been elected as the Speaker of Parliament, replacing Max Sisulu.

This was announced at the first sitting of the 5th democratic Parliament, which was presided over by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Mbete was nominated with Democratic Alliance’s Nosimo Bhalendlela. Since there was more than one nomination -- the floor of the National Assembly was turned into a voting station, complete with booths, ballot boxes and a secret ballot.

But, Mbete won by 260 votes, while Bhalindlela received 80 votes of the 366 votes counted. There were 18 invalid votes, Mogoeng announced.

The house broke out into ululations when the Chief Justice made the announcement.

Mbete was the Speaker from 2005 to 2008. She has also served as the country’s Deputy President after the recall of Thabo Mbeki in 2008.

She has been described by MPs, who worked with her, as strong, capable and effective.

Mbete said she was humbled by her appointment and said she will carry her tasks conscious of the Constitution. “Your trust in me has not been misplaced,” she said.

Mbete also welcomed new members to the house, saying more than half had not served in the previous Parliament.

She reminded them of their mandate of serving the people who voted for them.

“After 20 years of democracy, we dare not fail our people. Let us further entrench the spirit of democracy. Let each one of us represent our people with dignity and honour.”

She also paid tribute to the outgoing speaker and deputy.

Former Cooperative Governance Minister Lechesa Tsenoli was elected as deputy.

The Chief Justice earlier presided over the swearing in ceremony of the 400 new members of Parliament representing 13 political parties.

In batches of 10, the new MPS made an oath and affirmed faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution.

The Chief Justice will call for the nomination of candidates for the position of President of the Republic of South Africa.

While the ANC's Jacob Zuma is expected to be nominated, it remains unclear whether other parties will nominate their own presidential candidates.

Should there be a contest in the presidential election, a secret ballot will also be held.

After the President's election he/she will cease to be a Member of Parliament and their party will later fill that position by choosing the next person on its election list.

The President-elect will then take the Oath of Office at the Union Buildings on Saturday.

Saturday’s presidential inauguration falls well within the constitutional five days the President has to take the Oath of Office to “be faithful to the Republic of South Africa” and to “obey, observe and maintain the constitution and all other laws”.

The election of the 400 members of the national assembly will be followed by that of new MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) tomorrow. A total of 54 permanent delegates of the NCOP will be sworn in.

The same process will be followed and Chief Justice Mogoeng will convene the first sitting of the chamber. - SAnews.gov.za


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