Cape Town - The Western Cape provincial legislature has elected Daylin Mitchell as its new speaker, effectively replacing former speaker Masizole Mnqasela.
Speaking immediately after his election, Mitchell said he was humbled but proud to have been elected to the office.
At 36, Mitchell is the youngest speaker of the legislature. His predecessor, Mnqasela, was 38 when elected speaker.
Mitchell said: “I’m also acutely aware of the grave responsibilities bestowed upon me. I shall discharge my duties as the speaker and chief presiding officer of this as an impartial and fair manner, upholding the dignity and the decorum of this house.”
He said that while it was the “nature of the beast” that all members of the legislature served in an institution where they differ from one another almost all the time, he hoped that they could do this in a dignified and respectful manner.
“Our constituents expect that from us, but they also expect and demand from us the good clean fight in the arena.”
Mitchell now steps down from his post as Mobility MEC, a post he was appointed to in May 2021.
Aged 35 at the time, Mitchell became the youngest member of Premier Alan Winde’s executive committee.
Congratulating Mitchell on his election, Winde said: “Outgoing MEC Mitchell has been an invaluable part of our provincial executive, but he now takes on a very important role in our government, which I believe he will fulfil with professionalism.”
Winde has asked Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer to oversee the Mobility portfolio until a new MEC is appointed.
Mitchell's opponent for the speaker’s job was ANC Finance and Economic Opportunities spokesperson Nomi Nkondlo received votes from all the members of the opposition who attended the session except one who voted for Mitchell in the secret ballot.
Of the 35 votes cast, Mitchell got 23 and Nkondlo got 11. It was a secret ballot, but from the vote count it appears one of the opposition members voted with the DA.
There were 22 DA MPLs including Mitchell and nine ANC MPLs in attendance.
The other members were Freedom Front Plus MPL Peter Marais, GOOD Party MPL Shaun August, Al Jama-ah MPL Khalil Brinkhuis and ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians.
Neither of the two EFF members attended.
Members are just waiting for ballots to be printed before they vote. The election will be presided over by Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe pic.twitter.com/XcpKhRn8W9— Mwangi Githahu (@MwangiGithahu) December 12, 2022
Only members who attended in person were allowed to vote.
Congratulating Mitchell, leader of the opposition ANC Cameron Dugmore said: “We know Daylin Mitchell as fair and hard working.”
He said, however, that the ANC remained of the view that former speaker Mnqasela did a sterling job as speaker.
“He was objective and put the legislature on the map. Winde was the hatchet man here. He still has not produced a shred of evidence about what Masizole did wrong. And at the same time he protected the deputy speaker Beverley Schäfer.”
Dugmore said the ANC would now await the outcome of the high court application of the former speaker.
“As the ANC we had a principled view that the house needed to fill the vacancy. Now that the speaker has been elected we will give our full co-operation.”
Mobility MEC Daylin Mitchell has this morning been elected Speaker of the Western Cape legislature effectively replacing former speaker Masizole Mnqasela. pic.twitter.com/zXCdK1H6Py— Mwangi Githahu (@MwangiGithahu) December 12, 2022
DA Western Cape interim provincial leader Tertuis Simmers said the election came after Mnqasela “publicly ceased his DA membership by violating a FedEx decision that he should not continue to disparage the party or decisions taken by its structures”.
This is not expected to be the last we hear of Mnqasela, who last Friday finally filed his long-awaited court application challenging the DA’s termination of his membership, in the Western Cape High Court.