This is why Mapisa-Nqakula resigned

Former Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula appeared in court on corruption charges. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Former Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula appeared in court on corruption charges. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 4, 2024


Former Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation may have preserved her benefits that she will continue to enjoy as the former head of the legislature.

This is according to political analysts, who said in order to keep her benefits, resigning was a better option for Mapisa-Nqakula.

Prof. Dirk Kotzé from Unisa and Prof. Bheki Mngomezulu from Nelson Mandela University said Mapisa-Nqakula was in a tight corner and she resigned to protect the integrity of Parliament and that of her party, the African National Congress (ANC).

But Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said that Mapisa-Nqakula would be entitled to her pension, to which she was contributing every month like any other member of Parliament.

“Yes, just like any member who resigned from office,” said Mothapo.

The Speaker, the National Council of Provinces chairperson and speakers of the provincial legislatures do not get lifetime benefits like the President, his deputy, and the Chief Justice, his deputy and members of the judiciary.

Mapisa-Nqakula resigned from office even though a motion of no-confidence had been tabled against her. However, the motion had not been yet been scheduled for debate.

The Constitution and the rules of the National Assembly explain what processes need to be followed when the speaker is removed from office.

“The National Assembly may remove the Speaker or Deputy Speaker from office by resolution. A majority of the members of the Assembly must be present when the resolution is adopted. In terms of its rules and orders, the National Assembly may elect from among its members other presiding officers to assist the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker,” states Section 52(4) of the Constitution.

The rules of the National Assembly also state that section 52(4) would only apply during the removal of the speaker.

“The House may remove the Speaker or Deputy Speaker from office by resolution in terms of Section 52(4) of the Constitution. A motion for the removal of the Speaker from office must comply, to the satisfaction of the Deputy Speaker, with the prescripts of any relevant law or any relevant rules and orders of the House and directives and guidelines approved by the Rules Committee before being placed on the Order Paper, and must include the grounds on which the proposed removal from office is based,” state the rules of the assembly.

However, in this case, Mapisa-Nqakula resigned the day before she appeared in court.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) had tabled a motion of no-confidence on her.

Acting Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli accepted the motion, but there was no date set for it to be debated.

But Mapisa-Nqakula announced that she was resigning as a member of Parliament and Speaker.

Kotzé said a motion of no confidence would not have taken away her benefits as compared to impeachment like a president.

“For the ANC, this was the best option because a motion of no confidence would have been a difficult choice for them. First of all, they would have insisted on a secret ballot. Secondly, the question of whether the ANC would support her and vote against the motion of no confidence or in favour of it would have been a complicated decision for the ANC because they want steps taken against people who are alleged to be involved in fraud and corruption as an issue in the election. But at the same time they can’t be seen to alienating some of their senior members,” said Kotzé.

Her resignation removed that sensitivity. It is also worth noting this was close to the elections.

Mngomezulu said Mapisa-Nqakula resigned in order to protect the integrity of parliament.

He said she was also, in a way, protecting the integrity of the ANC.

“The Speaker of the National Assembly resigned for several reasons. These include to protect the integrity of parliament and to protect her image.”

A few months ago, Parliament voted for the impeachment of former Judge President of the Western Cape John Hlophe and retired Gauteng High Court judge Nkola Motata after they were found guilty of gross misconduct.

The two judges are said to have lost their benefits following the impeachment by Parliament in February.

Last October, Parliament impeached former Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after serious allegations were made against her.

Mkhwebane lost her gratuity of R10 million after the impeachment. She is still fighting to get the R10m gratuity. The current public protector, Kholeka Gcaleka has argued that she was not entitled to the multi-million rand gratuity.

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