Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
19 Aug 2021
11:11 am

Voting by secret ballot taking place for new National Assembly speaker

Citizen Reporter

MPs currently present in Parliament will be able to cast their vote.

Picture File: President Cyril Ramaphosa responds to the State Of The Nation (SONA) debate in the National Assembly on February 18, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams

After more than one candidate was nominated for the position of Speaker of the National Assembly, voting via a secret ballot is now taking place in Parliament.

The National Assembly is currently holding a plenary sitting to elect a new Speaker.

The position became vacant when President Ramaphosa appointed the previous speaker, Thandi Modise, as the new Minister of Defence and Military Veterans following a Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month.

Modise has been in the position since 2019, following the sixth democratic elections. 

Secret ballot

Presiding over the proceedings on Thursday, Western Cape High Court Judge John Hlophe said voting by a secret ballot will take place following the nomination of two candidates.

Former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was nominated for the position of Speaker by African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Pemmy Majodina.

The nomination was seconded by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

ALSO READ: Appointing Mapisa-Nqakula as speaker of parliament could come back to haunt ANC

Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Natasha Mazzone nominated Annelie Lotriet, who is the party’s caucus chairperson, for the position.

DA leader John Steenhuisen seconded Lotriet’s nomination.

Voting has started, however, MPs that are currently present in Parliament will be able to cast their vote.

National Assembly Speaker’s responsibilities 

In terms of the Rules of the House, the National Assembly Speaker has the responsibility of providing political leadership and strategic direction to the National Assembly and to exercise impartiality in carrying out these duties. 

The National Assembly, as the Constitution specifies, is elected to represent the people and to ensure government by the people under the Constitution.

The National Assembly does this by choosing the President, by providing a national forum for public consideration of issues, by passing legislation and by scrutinising and overseeing executive action.

The Speaker may also become Acting President, in terms of the Constitution. This may happen if the President is out of the country or is otherwise unable to fulfil the duties of President.