National ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu is one of 249 party members who will serve in Parliament, according to a final list released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa on Friday.
“I am honoured to be going back to Parliament because that is where the ANC has decided to deploy me,” said Mthembu.
“I am very humbled. It is an overwhelming mandate and I am not taking the mandate for granted. I am going there to do my utmost best to improve whatever area or portfolio I am deployed to.”
He had given his list of strengths and preferences to the ANC and respected its final decision on where to place him.
Mthembu (56) said he served in Parliament before being called to Luthuli House. He also served as speaker in the Mpumalanga legislature and as a spokesperson for former president Nelson Mandela.
“To be appointed national spokesman out of more than a million members is something that I think I will also include in a book one day. The trust and confidence that the organisation had in me makes me feel like crying when I think of it.”
Mthembu said he was often awake at 5am to travel to television or radio studios and could not count the number of times he had been woken in the middle of the night by journalists. But while he had enjoyed and appreciated his five-year term as spokesperson, it had been “strenuous” and was not something he would want to do forever.
“At least I won’t be receiving calls from all of you at all hours of the morning,” he told reporters. “Now I will not speak unless I am asked to.”
The top 10 names on the ANC’s Parliament list are: Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Malusi Gigaba, Naledi Pandor, Jeff Radebe, Fikile Mbalula, Blade Nzimande, Bathabile Dlamini, Lindiwe Sisulu and Collins Chabane.
Former communications minister Dina Pule was still at 70 on the list, even though she had declined her nomination by the ANC.
Mthembu did not know why Pule’s name was still on the list, but suggested it might be an error on the part of the IEC.
“We as the ANC have acknowledged her withdrawal.”
Pule was recalled from her position last year after the public protector’s report into allegations of corruption and a potential conflict of interest against her. Public protector Thuli Madonsela’s probe involved Pule’s appointment of service providers to do event management for the ICT Indaba in Cape Town and Madonsela found that Pule had unlawfully extended her spousal benefits to her romantic partner Phosane Mngqibisa.
ANC Youth League convener Mzwandile Masina was 109th on the final list.
Masina was quoted at the end of last year as saying National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa general secretary Irvin Jim could “fuck off” as he had a personal vendetta against President Jacob Zuma and was an embarrassment. The youth league later said he had been misquoted and had actually said “fork off”, an English term which meant “to divide in branches, go separate ways”.
In April, he uploaded a photo of former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge with a caption criticising them for campaigning for spoilt votes.
The caption read: “The ANC gave these two people an opportunity to be known. They mess up. One hoe fired by Pres Mbeki and the other resign in protest after Pres a Mbeki was recalled. Now they miss television do much that they convening some lousy media conference to discourage pple from voting our movement. Pple died for freedom don’t be fooled by these two loosens [sic].”
He later deleted the caption and posted an apology. “My humble apologies I felt embarrassed as I read again after I got a call from one cadre who wanted to check what I wrote. I don’t insult pple when we differ hence correcting the words that suggested was saying something else ‘who’ to that near horrible word …”
Andile Lungisa and Pule Mabe, who face fraud charges, were on the ANC’s original candidate list at 147 and 53 respectively. In the final list, only Mabe made the cut.
Mthembu said he could not comment on their placements, but had full trust in the decisions of list committee chair and ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.
Mantashe said in March that the ANC had vetted all its candidates and those not convicted of a crime but still facing charges in court could be on the list.
“We did check our lists carefully,” he said at the time.
African Union (AU) commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was originally number 17 on the list, but was taken down to 150 because of her position. She did not make the final list.
Axed Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale remained at number 81 on the list.
Tito Mboweni will return to Parliament as he is listed at 41.
Confusion at Agang
Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele’s name appeared on the final list of new members of Parliament, even though she has announced that she is taking a break from politics.
The candidate for the party’s second seat was listed as Molapi Plouamma.
But the party also released a statement on Friday saying that its national youth forum co-ordinator Nyameka Mguzulo and chairperson Mike Tshishonga would take up the parliamentary seats.
Agang SA spokesperson Mark Peach was not available to comment.
On Thursday, Ramphele posted an open letter on the party’s website saying she would take time to reflect on her political journey and return to contribute at a later stage.
“I have always said that I was the bridge and would make sure that the reins are handed over at an appropriate time to a new generation of leaders,” she said.
Ramphele said in her letter that the party’s performance in the elections last week was “disappointing”, but that it had been wonderful to see so many South Africans vote and uphold political freedom.
Agang secured 52 350 or 0.28% of the election votes.
“After such a taxing journey I do need some time and space to settle my mind and body, enjoy time with family and friends, and reconnect with a personal world I have not had time to enjoy for a considerable time now,” Ramphele said.
“This is where I believe I can make the most valuable contribution to the party and my beloved country.”
Gauteng top dogs
Gauteng ANC secretary David Makhura is headed to the provincial legislature, according to the party’s provincial list.
The list has 40 candidates for the legislature. It includes premier Nomvula Mokonyane, former MECs and several ordinary ANC MPLs.
The top 10 on the list are Makhura, Barbara Creecy (education), Ntombi Mekgwe (human settlements), Mandla Nkomfe (finance), Faith Mazibuko (safety), Lebogang Maile (sport), Hope Papo (health), Brian Hlongwa, Qedani Mahlangu (economic development), and Andrek Lesufi.
Mokonyane is number 11 on the list.
It was reported that she was overlooked in favour of Makhura, former education MEC Barbara Creecy and former finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe. The ANC’s head of provincial executive committee communications Nkenke Kekana said Nkomfe would be released from the list.
“His name will be removed from that list as he would not be involved in the parliamentary processes of the legislature,” he said on Friday. Kekana said Nkomfe asked for his name to be removed after he decided to serve the ANC as a researcher instead.
Elections done and dusted
IEC chair Pansy Tlakula handed over a list of 830 representatives for Parliament and the provincial legislatures to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Friday.
She said the handing over of the lists indicated that the IEC had come to the end of the 2014 general elections process.
Deputy secretary to Parliament Baby Tyawa said the National Assembly representatives would be sworn in on May 21 and those in the National Council of Provinces on May 22. – Sapa