ANC deputy president David Mabuza has asked not to be sworn in as a member of parliament.
This was announced on Wednesday morning by ANC presidency head Zizi Kodwa ahead of a swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday of newly elected MPs by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
In a statement, Kodwa said Mabuza had decided to “postpone” his taking of the oath of office until he had addressed the ANC’s integrity commission, which has red-flagged him and other party figures as not suitable to represent the governing ANC in parliament.
Kodwa said Mabuza had sent his request to the ANC top six office-bearers, which include President Cyril Ramaphosa, and they had agreed to it.
“The deputy president made the request in light of a report by the ANC Integrity Commission in which he is alleged to have prejudiced the integrity of the ANC and brought the organisation into disrepute. The deputy president has indicated he would like to have an opportunity to address the Integrity Commission on these allegations,” said Kodwa.
“In the meantime, he has decided nevertheless to follow the dictates of his conscience and postpone his swearing in as a member of the National Assembly out of respect for the ANC’s institutions and processes.
“The deputy president believes that the ANC as a governing party should advance the electoral mandate in an environment of public trust.
“The ANC commends deputy president Mabuza for the stance he has taken and I personally applaud his resolve to put the interests of the ANC first.”
Mabuza’s announcement could have an implication on the composition of Ramaphosa’s cabinet, expected to be announced soon after his inauguration, which is scheduled for Saturday.
The announcement also comes amid speculation within ANC circles that Mabuza was not keen to return as Ramaphosa’s second in command.
The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that those with intimate knowledge of the matter said Mabuza was extremely reluctant to go back to the Union Buildings, preferring to reconsolidate his power base in the ANC, especially in his home province of Mpumalanga. They also cited health concerns as a reason he preferred to operate from ANC headquarters.
On Monday, while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an ANC national executive committee meeting in Cape Town, Mabuza dismissed the report as speculation and rumor.