Cape Town - Max Sisulu, the former National Assembly Speaker who was sworn in as an MP last week, has resigned his seat in Parliament.
He was replaced as Speaker by ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete.
ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa on Thursday night said the party had accepted the resignation.
No substantive reasons had been given for his resignation. “The ANC wants to put it on record that ANC members can exercise a choice to serve in Parliament or they can withdraw that decision if they chose so,” Kodwa said.
ANC chief whip Stone Sizani’s spokesman Moloto Mothapo said Sizani had expressed his “deep gratitude for the excellence with which Sisulu has served the people of South Africa and the ANC”, and Sisulu’s “commitment… that South Africa becomes a better place to live in”.
Thursday night’s resignation comes eight days after the former speaker returned to the National Assembly as an ordinary MP, and a few days after President Jacob Zuma did not include Sisulu in his cabinet.
Sisulu, who was re-elected to the ANC national executive committee at the 2012 Mangaung conference, was at number 18 on the ANC National Assembly candidates’ list.
Among the top 20, only Sisulu and Thoko Didiza, the former agriculture minister, were left out of the cabinet. Didiza resigned in September 2008 when the ANC recalled Thabo Mbeki as head of state.
But last June Sisulu hinted he was looking for a new challenge. In an interview with the Cape Argus he said: “I’ve enjoyed challenges throughout life… I’m hoping that when I leave, I’ll find a new challenge.”
The ANC dismissed speculation there had been bad blood between Sisulu and the party for agreeing to an opposition request for an ad hoc parliamentary committee probe into the public protector’s report on Nkandla.
On Thursday night Kodwa again dismissed such speculation as unfounded.
“We want to dispel an unfounded rumour that comrade Max resigned after he had been summoned to a meeting at the ANC headquarters pertaining to the Nkandla investigation,” Kodwa said.
“This mischievous assertion seeks to second guess reasons behind comrade Max's decision. We appeal for all those who are spreading these lies to desist from such and respect his decision.”
Sisulu could not be reached for comment.
Political Bureau and Sapa