Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the former minister of defence and military veterans, has been elected as speaker of South Africa’s sixth parliament.
There were 17 spoiled ballots.
Mapisa-Nqakula was removed as defence minister as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle on 5 August in the wake of the security sector failures during last months’ looting and arson attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
The defence portfolio has been filled by former National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise.
Mapisa-Nqakula and former state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo had both contradicted cabinet and Ramaphosa’s assertion that the riots, looting and arson attacks, which took place after former president Jacob Zuma’s incarceration for contempt of court, were part of a failed attempted insurrection.
The Economic Freedom Fighters boycotted the election of Mapisa-Nqakula, whose nomination as speaker had been questioned by opposition parties and civil society organisations critical of both the appointment process and her suitability for the post.
Addressing the sitting after the vote, Mapisa-Nqakula said she was “humbled” at being nominated as speaker and pledged her willingness to work with all MPs.
She said parliament should “never be compromised” for personal or political benefit, because it was the “last line of defence” of South Africa’s democracy.