Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is set to become the National Assembly’s new speaker.
ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe told a special party caucus meeting on Tuesday the party wants Mapisa-Nqakula to be its candidate for the position.
If elected, Mapisa-Nqakula will effectively swap positions with Thandi Modise, who was appointed defence minister last Thursday.
The National Assembly speaker is elected from its 400 members by secret ballot. With 230 members, the ANC’s candidate is most likely to succeed.
Shortly after 10am, Mantashe told the specially convened caucus meeting that the party leadership was convinced Mapisa-Nqakula was the most suitable candidate for the job and will be able to handle its pressures.
He said the ANC leadership was not imposing her on the caucus, but it was its desire to have her occupy the position.
“The most important thing is that Comrade Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, having been moved from defence, we are putting her up as candidate for speaker of parliament in the National Assembly,” said Mantashe.
“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.”
Mantashe noted the move would create a challenge for Modise because cabinet ministers are paid less than a speaker.
Mantashe also updated ANC MPs about the other changes brought about by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle.
He said he was pleasantly surprised that one of the ratings agencies had put its weight behind Enoch Godongwana as new minister of finance.
“We monitor reactions, and the reaction is overall positive with few exceptions of negativity. I was shocked by one of the ratings agencies putting their weight behind him. That was quite important,” he said.
Mantashe also explained Ramaphosa’s decision to put state security under the presidency. He said this had been the case under former president Nelson Mandela’s presidency, with then deputy minister responsible for intelligence affairs, Joe Nhlanhla, reporting directly to the president.
He said they were applying their minds on how to manage this development.
While Mantashe went through all the new changes, he specifically mentioned how he called new health minister Joe Phaahla to congratulate him on his promotion. He said the long-serving health deputy minister deserved it.
DA leader John Steenhuisen told TimesLIVE the opposition party will also contest the speaker position because it was worried about the rumoured ANC names to fill Modise’s vacancy.
Parliament is yet to announce the date for the new speaker’s election.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)