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‘New dawn for who?’ — Mzansi weighs in on Mapisa-Nqakula’s election as speaker of parliament

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was elected as the National Assembly's new speaker on Thursday. File photo.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was elected as the National Assembly's new speaker on Thursday. File photo.

Newly-elected National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula may need to prove herself worthy of the position amid criticism by the public and politicians of opposition parties.

In a much-anticipated parliamentary election on Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula received 199 votes, defeating DA candidate Annelie Lotriet who secured 82 votes. There were 17 spoilt ballots.

The former defence and military veterans minister effectively swapped positions with former speaker Thandi Modise during president Cyril Ramaphosa' cabinet reshuffle last week.

Former defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on August 19 2021 became the fifth woman to be announced as National Assembly speaker since the start of SA's democratic era.

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe announced Mapisa-Nqakula as the party's candidate for the speaker position last week, a decision the DA called a “mockery”.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone claimed Mapisa-Nqakula was a controversial individual who “does not espouse the values of transparency and accountability”. 

She highlighted several scandals involving Mapisa-Nqakula as cause for concern.

Most recently, the former minister publicly contradicted Ramaphosa, who said last month's incidents of violence and unrest were a failed insurrection. She later retracted the statement.

On Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula said she was humbled by the support she received from MPs who elected her into the position in the National Assembly.

“I felt humbled to have been nominated as a candidate for the position of speaker of this  house. I also recognise that for us to succeed as a country, all the three branches of state should function in a collaborative manner,” she said.

Mapisa-Nqakula also committed to co-operating with opposition parties represented in parliament.

TimesLIVE ran a poll asking readers what they thought of her election. Seventy-four percent of respondents said it was the “same old, same old” recycling of politicians by the ruling party, while 20% said they wanted to see “how she controls the house”.

Six percent said they approved of the appointment.

On social media, users slammed the ANC, claiming it was the “problem”.