The humiliation of being demoted from Cabinet positions to ordinary backbenchers, along with the impact on their pensions and other perks of high office, are at the core of the latest spate of resignations by ANC members of parliament (MPs), says independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga.
Since the official swearing-in of MPs following this years election, the ANC has seen an unprecedented exodus of former ministers who were overlooked by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he assembled his administration, which will serve for the five-year period.
They include the disgraced Nomvula Mokonyane and Malusi Gigaba, who have been implicated in the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
The most recent resignation came from former minister of sports and recreation Tokozile Xasa yesterday.
Mathekga said ministers who resigned were “clearly in it for their pockets”.
“Financial implications are a big part of the exodus from parliament,” he said. “It is also an emotional, traumatic experience for the former ministers and their families, who have lost so much they were accustomed to.
“Imagine, today your laundry is taken to a dry cleaner by someone and your kids are driven to school by members of the VIP protection unit in a blue-light fitted vehicle. Tomorrow, you are left all by yourself.
“It requires a great deal of commitment to go back to parliament and be mocked by members of opposition parties. People feel demoted and find it better to leave with their pensions intact.
“Can you imagine what would have happened to former president Jacob Zuma’s perks had he accepted a nomination to go back to parliament?
“He would have lost benefits associated with having been president. The same went for former president Kgalema Motlanthe and former deputy president Baleka Mbete.”
As yesterday’s resignation of Xasa was announced, the ANC brushed off any political concerns, with chief whip Pemmy Majodina saying the resignations were “normal”.
“The office of the chief whip has extended the ANC’s gratitude to these former MPs for the distinguished and diligent service they rendered to the people of South Africa and the ANC over the years, in both the executive and parliament,” said Majodina.
“We also derive satisfaction from the knowledge that we will continue to tap into their wealth of leadership and experience as they have all expressed their commitment to continue serving the ANC and the people of South Africa in other capacities.”
Xasa will be replaced by Judy Hermans on the national-to-national list, while Makhosini Nkosi was replaced by Lindiwe Mjobo on the province-to-national list of KwaZulu-Natal.
Hermans will be sworn-in on Monday in the National Assembly with the rest of the other new MPs who include:
- Fikile Masiko, who will replace former social development minister Susan Shabangu,
- Sfiso Buthelezi, who will replace former state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba,
- Tshoganetso Tongwane, who will replace former human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo,
- Nombulelo Lillian Hermans, replacing Silvia Lucas, who withdrew from the list due to having been deployed as deputy chairperson of the national council of provinces,
- Emily Manketsi Thlape, who will replace President Ramaphosa, who ceased to be an MP upon his election as president of SA.