The New Nation Movement NPC and citizens led by Dr Onkgopotse JJ Tabane and Lukhona Mnguni have added their voices opposing the nomination by the African National Congress (ANC) of former defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for the position of the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA).
A new Speaker of Parliament is scheduled to be elected on Thursday, 19 August 2021, and some opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance (DA), have said they intend to challenge Mapisa-Nqakula’s nomination for the position.
Mapisa-Nqakula was nominated by the ANC after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that she would be replaced at the defence ministry by former Speaker Thandi Modise.
In a letter dated 18 August 2021 addressed to Parliament’s deputy Speaker, Lechesa Tsenoli, from Mabuza Attorneys on behalf of The New Nation Movement NPC and others, Tsenoli is demanded to prevent the election of the Speaker on Thursday or that he ensures that it is done by way of a secret ballot.
The core of the letter is:
1. unconstitutional conduct by the President to impose a deployee on an independent arm of the state to hold his govt accountable.
2. Conflict of interest of the deployee
3. Fitness to hold office
4. Frustrating ANC MPs from exercising oath of office https://t.co/wLlKX0TiqR
— Lukhona Mnguni (@LukhonaMnguni) August 18, 2021
The group demands that should Tsenoli fail to accede to these demands he should provide reasons for this and that his failure to comply may result in court action.
In the letter, the group lists a number of reasons why it is opposed to Mapisa-Nqakula’s nomination for the position of Speaker, including that the former minister’s nomination was purportedly imposed on the ANC Caucus by the party’s national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.
The group said it had welcomed Ramaphosa’s decision to remove Mapisa-Nqakula from the defence ministry because they believed it was based on “her long history of allegations of corruption and misgovernance involving, inter alia, miduse of public funds and facilities and nepotism to mention a few”.
The group further points out that the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Defence was still contemplating conducting a probe into other allegations of corruption levelled against Mapisa-Nqakula by a whistleblower.
” Ms Mapisa-Nqakula is not a 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,” the letter reads.