Election of NA Speaker provisionally set for next week

The National Assembly Programme Committee (NAPC) has provisionally scheduled 19 August 2021 for the election of a new National Assembly (NA) Speaker during its regular weekly meeting.

This follows the appointment of former NA Speaker Thandi Modise as Minister of Defence and Military Veterans last week.

Parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said the election is scheduled for the NA plenary sitting at 2pm on Thursday, subject to confirmation with the Office of the Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice or judge designated by him must preside over the election of the new Speaker.

“The NA Speaker is drawn from the 14 political parties of a 400 member NA. If there is more than one nomination for the position of Speaker, NA members will vote by secret ballot and this will require physical presence of Members at Parliament. Appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 protocols,” Mothapo said.

Rules Committee to consider Section 194 Enquiry Committee work

Meanwhile, the NAPC meeting also confirmed its decision, taken last week, that the NA Rules Committee will meet on Friday to consider and provide direction for the work of the Section 194 Enquiry Committee.

“Section 194 in Chapter 9 of the Constitution deals with removal from office of heads of State Institutions Supporting Constitutional Democracy. The institutions include the Public Protector and the Auditor General,” Mothapo said.

The Section 194 Enquiry Committee met for the first time on 20 July 2021 and elected Qubudile Dyantyi as Chairperson. This followed the NA sitting on 16 March 2021, establishing the committee to conduct an enquiry into the fitness to hold office of Public Protector Advocate Mkhwebane.

On 28 July 2021, the Western Cape High Court handed down judgment on Advocate Mkhwebane’s application challenging the constitutionality of NA rules governing implementation of Section 194 of the Constitution.

The Court made two adverse findings, including one which was on the optional inclusion of a judge on a three-person independent panel to establish whether, indeed, there was prima facie merit to a motion calling for removal in terms of Section 194.

The other adverse finding was about the right of Chapter 9 office holder to legal representation at the enquiry of the Section 194 Committee process.

“The NA Rules Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow will also consider existing rules for electing the Speaker, given the emergence of COVID-19,” Mothapo said.

Source: South African Government News Agency