ANC ‘still discussing’ no-confidence motion in Mapisa-Nqakula – The Mail & Guardian

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Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. (Photo by Jaco Marais/Die Burger/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

While the ANC  at Luthuli House has opted to keep mum as to whether it will support or oppose a motion of no confidence against National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, its parliamentary chief whip, Pemmy Majodina, pledged the full support of the caucus behind her. 

Responding to questions by the Mail & Guardian, Majodina said there was no basis to support the motion brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) at the moment. 

“Let us allow the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] processes to unfold,” she said. 

Her counterpart in the Democratic Alliance (DA), Siviwe Gwarube, wrote to Majodina asking that the ANC back the motion.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said the party was “still discussing” the matter and had “not yet made a decision” on how it would approach the no confidence motion. 

On Tuesday, acting speaker Lechesa Tsenoli wrote to Gwarube confirming that the motion she intended to bring to remove the speaker in terms of section 54 of the Constitution was substantively in order.

The motion had met the conditions imposed by the Constitution and the rules of the National Assembly under which a motion to remove either the speaker or their deputy could be brought.

Gwarube gave notice of intention to bring the motion after news broke that Mapisa-Nqakula was being investigated over 12 counts of alleged corruption and one of money laundering concerning payments and benefits she allegedly received from a contractor while minister of defence.

The speaker has been accused of soliciting more than R2 million in bribes from Nombasa Ndhlovu, owner of Umkhombe Marine, in return for intervention in contracts with the South African National Defence Force.

Ndhlovu was arrested in 2020 and subsequently implicated Mapisa-Nqakula, who has gone to court to prevent the NPA from arresting her for a week.

The Mail & Guardian reported on the impending arrest last week.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo confirmed that the motion would be given “due priority” in terms of the National Assembly rules and that a date for its tabling would be announced in due course.

Gwarube said the DA  welcomed the decision and would push for it to be tabled and debated urgently, ideally as early as next week.

“The rules of the National Assembly are clear. The motion to remove a speaker or the deputy speaker must be considered urgently,” Gwarube said.

“Considering that this parliament remains competent until May, there is no reason a special sitting of parliament should not be called as early as next week to consider this important motion,” she said.

Gwarube has written to all the parties in parliament to request their support for the motion.

She said the speaker’s refusal to resign amid the corruption allegations “leaves us no choice but to bring this motion”. 

“As MPs who uphold the values of accountability, this should not be a difficult decision to make,” she said.

Gwarube said the speaker was “no longer suited” to hold the 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,” Gwarube said.

Parliament and parties needed to “do the right thing” and support the motion to show that “this parliament will not be a refuge for some of the worst among us”,  Gwarube said.

Mapisa-Nqakula became the speaker in 2021 after being removed as minister of defence in the wake of the riots in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng earlier that year. The riots were sparked by the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court for refusing to be cross-examined at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

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