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06 May 2009 12:21
African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee member Max Sisulu was elected Speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Sisulu was elected unopposed after being nominated by senior ANC MP Andrew Mhlangeni.
First to jump up and congratulate Sisulu was president-in-waiting Jacob Zuma, closely followed by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel—even before Chief Justice Pius Langa had declared Sisulu duly elected.
Langa called them to order, saying “you may have to do that again”.
Sisulu then took the chair and thanked members for the confidence they had placed in him and the great responsibility entrusted to him.
He vowed to carry out his duties to the best of his abilities.
Sisulu also paid tribute to democratic South Africa’s first Speaker Frene Ginwala, especially, as well as her successors Baleka Mbete and Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
Sisulu in turn presided over the election of his deputy, Nomaindia Mfeketo, who was also unopposed.
Proceedings will resume at 2pm for the election of the new President of the Republic, Zuma.
Zuma will then resign as an MP, having only been sworn in to that position in the morning.
Earlier, Chief Justice Pius Langa swore in the Assembly’s 400 newly elected MPs.
MPs were called to the front of the Chamber in batches of 10, where they took the oath or solemn affirmation under the watchful gaze of the VIPs and guests filling the public galleries above.
First in line was Zuma, followed by outgoing Deputy President Mbete Baleka, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Education Minister Naledi Pandor rounded off the first 10.—Sapa
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