/ 20 May 2019

Meet the ANC’s new team for Parliament

Thandi Modise
South Africa’s defence minister, Thandi Modise. (Gallo)

A meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has decided on sweeping changes to the party’s Parliamentary caucus.

Thandi Modise, the current chairperson of the national council of provinces (NCOP), will be nominated by the ANC to be the new speaker of the National Assembly.

The current deputy speaker of the assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, will again by nominated as deputy.

Asked whether Modise — a former member of the ANC’s top six — could open herself up to objections about her ability to be an impartial speaker, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule said she is more than qualified for the task.

“Everybody comes from a political party — all members of parliament. Anybody who has to preside will come from a political party. And the majority party has decided to put Comrade Thandi there because of her work. And we think she’ll be up to the job.”

Modise’s “no-nonsense” approach could also be seen as a measure to neutralise an Economic Freedom Fighters caucus, which has mushroomed from 25 in the last parliament to 44 in the new one.

Former Johannesburg Mayor and chairperson of Parliament’s ethics committee Amos Masondo will be nominated to take up Modise’s old position, as NCOP chairperson.

Current Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas will be nominated to deputise him.

“Amos Masondo is a seasoned cadre of the movement. Well disciplined. He was very active in parliament. And NCOP is a lot of work. You need discipline. And we need a person like that. With his credentials, he can drive that House.”

Eastern Cape Public Works MEC Pemmy Majodina has been appointed as the ANC’s Chief Whip.

While controversial minister Nomvula Mokonyane will be appointed as Parliament Chair of Chairs.

The position is a relatively powerful one. The Chair of Chairs oversees parliamentary committees whose job is to conduct oversight on the Executive and government departments and institutions.

Mokonyane’s retention on the ANC parliamentary list has raised eyebrows in the run-up to the polls. She has been widely implicated, yet not criminally charged, in alleged corruption and kickbacks involving company Bosasa.

Magashule said: “I’ve pleaded with the media not to judge her [Mokonyane]. Things are in process. And for now, as a collective, this is the decisions that we are taking. And I don’t think the collective can be wrong. There wasn’t a lot of discussion on this matter.”

On other deployments, the ANC said current North West Premier Job Mokgoro will continue in the job.

This announcement will leave the ANC Women’s League disappointed who called for a female Premier to be appointed by the NEC.

Magashule said, for now, that won’t be possible.

“The women’s league understood that the people they were proposing were not on the list and that was creating a problem. There was no way we could deplete the list. Certain names were proposed, but those names were not on the list at the IEC with the party. But we still looking for a name for a woman premier. But for now, the matter is closed. We’re looking to stabilise the province,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the Western Cape, the only province not governed by the ANC, Cameron Dugmore has been appointed leader of the opposition in the Western Cape Legislature.