Cape Town. 251108. Former community safety MEC Ramatlakane and Cope's newest recruit. The newly-established Congress of the People party (Cope) says it is on a "massive recruitment drive" and very encouraged by the levels of support it is getting. Cope also welcomed the "recent spate of ANC councilors" into its ranks. The party also said it was confident it would meet all the requirements for registration with the Independent Electoral Commission, which would be completed by the end of the week. Picture Mxolisi Madela

Cape Town - Former Western Cape safety and security MEC Leonard Ramatlakane has squeaked into Parliament, taking up the seat left empty by President Jacob Zuma immediately after his election as head of state.

Five years ago Ramatlakane left the ANC to join Cope, but rejoined just before the elections.

“It’s an honour and privilege,” said Ramatlakane, who will be sworn in this week.

He rejoined the ANC along with two other Cope MPs in March, Juli Kilian and Nic Koornhof, but at 126 and 129 neither was high enough on the ANC MP candidate list to return to the national legislature. In terms of Section 87 of the constitution the newly elected president immediately ceases to be an MP, but ministers and deputy ministers retain their parliamentary seats.

The return of Ramatlakane to the National Assembly followed the return of fellow Western Cape ANC member, and one-time parliamentary defence committee chairman, Nyami Booi, in place of disgraced former communications minister Dina Pule, who withdrew this month. He was 119 on the ANC list for the National Assembly.

The parliamentary seat of former Reserve Bank governor and labour minister Tito Mboweni, who withdrew to remain in the business world, has been filled by Martha Phindile Mmola. Patricia Emily Adams, a former MP, is next in line for a spot on the parliamentary benches, vacated by Zizi Kodwa, who was appointed ANC national spokesman.

And Marthinus van Schalkwyk’s seat will go to Timothy Zanoxolo Mpho Adolphin Khoza.

Vacancies in Parliament are filled for the next 12 months according to the ranking of the list of public elected representatives submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission.

Cape Argus