DA Won’t Back Sacked Minister To Be Speaker

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has rejected the African National Congress (ANC) National Assembly Speaker candidate elect, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, saying she is “not fit” for the position.

Mapisa-Nqakula was removed as defence minister in last Friday’s Cabinet reshuffle. President Cyril Ramaphosa, however, said she would be redeployed.

On Tuesday a special ANC caucus meeting was convened by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, Pemmy Majodina.

Citing her experience in the legislature, the caucus nominated Mapisa-Nqakula to replace outgoing Speaker Thandi Modise, who was appointed defence minister.

But the DA said the move “makes a complete mockery of Parliament and the constitution”.

“While the ANC seeks to give a glowing account of Mapisa-Nqakula’s tenure in government, the reality is that there is nothing to celebrate. She is not fit to lead Parliament as she does not espouse the principles of accountability and transparency required to lead the institution.

“She is not fit to lead Parliament as she does not espouse the principles of accountability and transparency required to lead the institution.

“This nomination is just an example of the ANC recycling an underperforming minister.”

The DA claimed Mapisa-Nqakula’s blunders while she was defence minister bordered on the illegal.

Mazzone listed the anomalies that included that Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly smuggled a Burundian woman, who had been in a romantic relationship with her late son, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa on board an Air Force jet.

“She also famously oversaw the ANC’s jaunt to Zimbabwe onboard an air force jet which was a violation of lockdown regulations but also a brazen abuse of State resources,” said Mazzone.

“It was under her watch and knowledge that the South African Defence Force (SANDF) purchased the unregistered interferon drug from Cuba.

“She’s been accused of living in the lap of luxury on the taxpayer’s dime. Her and the department blundered the investigations into the untimely death of Collins Khosa at the hands of SANDF soldiers. 

“There are clearly numerous instances of her seemingly abusing her position of power and disregarding ethics standards for her own political and personal gain.”

Mazzone said the DA will not support the nomination of Mapisa-Nqakula as Speaker.

However, the ANC in nominating Mapisa-Nqakula referred to her experience in Cabinet and Parliament.

Mapisa-Nqakula has served as defence and military veterans minister from June 2012 to August 2021.

Previously, she was home affairs minister from 2004 to 2009 and correctional services minister from 2009 to 2012.

She also served as deputy minister of home affairs from 6 May 2002 to 28 April 2004

Nqakula is a former chief whip of the ANC in Parliament.

She was deputy chairperson of the ANC political committee as well as the chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence.

“Former Minister Mapisa-Nqakula brings a formidable wealth of experience to the new position with a solid track – record as a legislator and policy maker spanning over a number of years,” said the ANC in a statement issued by Nomfanelo Kota, ANC acting caucus spokesperson

As a gender activist, Mapisa-Nqakula has served as Secretary-General of the ANC Women’s League.