The Citizen (KZN)

Mapisa-Nqakula issue a litmus test for ANC

- Eric Naki

ANC’s response to the motion of no confidence against National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will be a litmus test for the ruling party.

It must prove to the electorate that it will not tolerate corruption among its ranks. But will it sacrifice Mapisa-Nqakula, a top-ranking cadre of this former liberation movement?

The motion was submitted by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) chief whip Siviwe Gwarube. If the ANC’s MPs support it, then Mapisa-Nqakula would become the first speaker to be impeached.

According to Section 54(2) of the constituti­on and the National Assembly rules, the speaker or deputy speaker may be removed by resolution, approved by a majority of assembly members present.

The ANC MPs may not follow this rule as they did previously when they closed ranks to defend then president Jacob Zuma against his numerous no-confidence motions. But the party was openly divided in its support for President Cyril Ramaphosa impeachmen­t over the Phala Phala saga.

Several members linked to the now-moribund ANC’s radical economic transforma­tion faction, including Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, supported the Ramaphosa’s impeachmen­t, which entailed his investigat­ion and removal.

However, the granting of Gwarube’s motion by Acting Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli gave a glimmer of hope that the ruling party might throw Mapisa-Nqakula under the bus.

Yet, there is no guarantee it will be supported by ANC MPs.

Gwarube is adamant the motion should succeed.

She wrote to all political parties in parliament, including the ANC, requesting them to support the proposal.

She said the motion would be considered by the House in due course. The MP said the National Assembly rules were clear that the process to remove a speaker or deputy speaker must be considered urgently.

With parliament to remain competent until May, there was no reason why a special sitting of should not be called as early as next week to consider the motion.

“Mapisa-Nqakula is no longer suited to hold this important position... We are the very institutio­n that ought to hold the executive to account; we cannot be found wanting when the speaker is the one facing corruption allegation­s,” said Gwarube.

Mapisa-Nqakula is facing 12 counts of corruption and money laundering allegation­s from her time as the minister of defence.

Parliament­ary spokespers­on Moloto Mothapo said a motion to remove the speaker from office must comply with the prescripts of any relevant law or rules and orders of the House, including directives and guidelines approved by the rules committee.

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