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New bloods enter Parliament

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parliament jan 28

GCIS

File photo: GCIS

Cape Town - Parliament is getting ready to welcome scores of new MPs – not only from the four newly represented parties including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the National Freedom Party (NFP), but also first-time and returning MPs from parties already represented.

Initial contact was made as voting results firmed up on the giant scoreboard at the IEC national results centre, Parliament’s spokesman, Luzuko Jacobs, told the Cape Argus.

The aim was a smooth logistical and administrative process to bring all 400 National Assembly MPs and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) delegates to Cape Town for next week’s official swearing-in ceremonies.

The president and Speaker will be elected after the swearing-in next Wednesday, culminating in a State of the Nation address around mid-June.

However, the DA will be without its parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko. Having recovered from surgery earlier this year, Mazibuko announced on Sunday that she would take a year-long study break at Harvard University in the US.

This avoids any potentially bruising battle with Mmusi Maimane who, despite standing as DA Gauteng premier candidate, is expected to take a leading role in Parliament.

However, Maimane told the Cape Argus his move had “not been confirmed with the party structures”.

Following weekend discussions, an announcement could be expected only after Monday’s Gauteng executive meeting.

If Maimane comes to the national legislature as an MP, the now 89-strong DA parliamentary caucus is scheduled to sit on May 29 to elect its parliamentary leader and chief whip.

On Sunday, several members of the DA caucus who three years ago supported Mazibuko’s election as parliamentary leader over Athol Trollip said they had accepted Mazibuko’s career and life choice.

The ANC returns with a reduced majority of 249 National Assembly seats, 15 fewer than in 2009, on the back of its 62.15 percent polling support. This was just over 3 percent down from 2009.

Consultations started last week, and included discussions about those going to the cabinet. Further meetings are scheduled this week.

The ANC is holding a briefing on last week’s election performance in Joburg on Monday.

While President Jacob Zuma tops the ANC national list, his time in the parliamentary benches will be brief: once the National Assembly elects him as president he will immediately resign as required by the constitution.

DA leader Helen Zille is number one on the party’s national list, but she will continue as premier of the Western Cape, where the DA remains in charge with an improved polling support.

The EFF is the third-biggest party with 25 seats on the back of its just over 1 million votes.

“Not all of us will go to Parliament. We’ll announce in due course,” said EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema at the weekend. “We are sending ordinary people to Parliament.”

 

But Malema’s stint on the parliamentary benches - if his party sends him there - may be cut short if the pending sequestration case goes against him at the end of the month.

Parliamentary rules ban anyone declared bankrupt or sentenced to more than 12 months’ jail without the option of a fine from serving as an “honourable”.

National elections newcomer the NFP, led by Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, meets on Monday to decide who will take up the party’s six seats.

KaMagwaza-Msibi said a decision on whether she would leave KwaZulu-Natal for Cape Town would be taken at the meeting. This week she is visiting communities to thank voters for their support.

The biggest election loser, Cope, sees its seats slashed from 30 to just three, which will include party leader Mosiuoa Lekota and his deputy, Willie Madisha.

The IFP returns eight seats down with just 10 MPs, following a devastating national showing of 2.4 percent.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi is set to return to Parliament, alongside secretary-general Sibongile Nkomo.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa returns as one of four MPs as the party maintained its voting support, as did the Freedom Front Plus, which also retains its four seats.

The African Christian Democratic Party will return with its leader, Kenneth Meshoe, and two long-standing MPs after having retained its three seats.

AgangSA has two seats - and leader Mamphela Ramphele will have to decide whether she wants to continue her political career in Parliament.

Election surprise the African Independent Congress will get three seats.

The Pan-Africanist Congress and African People’s Convention clung on to their one seat each on the basis of complex calculations of so-called remainder votes.

Both parties fell just short of the 0.2 percent polling support needed for a seat.

While a record 29 parties contested these elections, only 13 won seats in Parliament.

Cape Argus


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