EFF’s attempt to remove Mapisa-Nqakula as speaker fails

Speaker of parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula cannot be trusted to hold President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC accountable because she has an “agenda” to protect the governing party and its leaders, according to EFF leader Julius Malema.

Malema said on Wednesday in parliament that the red berets tabled the motion of no confidence in Mapisa-Nqakula because “it has become clear that we are dealing with an unrepentant delinquent who abuses their power”. 

He said during the State of the Nation Address on February 9, Mapisa-Nqakula called the members of the house “animals”.

He was referring to an incident when EFF stormed the stage during Ramaphosa’s address, holding protest placards.

Without the speaker’s instruction as per the rules, parliamentary security services jumped in and removed members of the EFF from stage. 

On Wednesday all parties except the ATM rejected the EFF’s motion.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude said “the rules must be enforced, so as to ensure that the transformative agenda of this chamber prevails, due to the consistent violations and the deliberate disruption that we have witnessed”.

“The agenda is simply to weaken parliamentary democracy and its processes by defying every rule that has been written,” said Dlakude.

“This is simply an attempt to weaken the authority of the presiding officers and for the House to degenerate into chaos.”

DA MP Annelie Lotriet said Mapisa-Nqakula has so far not covered herself in glory, but the party would not support reference to a single incident as the basis for her removal from office.

Ahead of voting for the motion, the DA said it would abstain, but the move was “not a vote of confidence” on Mapisa-Nqakula.

Malema had alleged that Mapisa-Nqakula violated the constitution and the rules of the National Assembly when she allowed the police to invade parliament and made it worse by calling on the security forces of South Africa to enter the chambers to intimidate MPs.

“It is not something that we can take lightly,” said Malema.

He said MPs were assaulted on the speaker’s instruction and “women members were sexually assaulted when they were being violently removed, beaten and bruised, their private parts were touched by men”. 

He said Mapisa-Nqakula’s sole mandate was to protect Ramaphosa from accountability.

“She chose violence, she chose to abuse her powers and to violate the constitution and the rules of the National Assembly.

“She is happy when we leave these chambers in the hands of men who are unashamed to violate women members of parliament, touch our private parts and harass us, so that we end up in hospital seeking medical treatment.” 

Malema added that Mapisa-Nqakula denied a secret ballot vote on the establishment of a parliamentary committee to investigate the alleged theft of illegal US dollars that were stashed in a sofa at Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo in February 2020.

At the time, ANC headquarters Luthuli House had threatened to expel its own MPs who would vote in favour of the Phala Phala probe.

He said Mapisa-Nqakula “entered the office of the speaker with a predetermined agenda to protect Ramaphosa from any and all scrutiny at all costs”.

“She has degenerated this parliament into a place of violence, censorship, an arena where the constitution is disrespected and violated.”

He further said Mapisa-Nqakula had “no shame that women were sexually assaulted under her watch as a female speaker,” adding that the speaker “is a mistake in history and a step backward for women’s leadership in this country”. 

“As the EFF, we table this motion of no confidence in the speaker because under her the gains of our democracy are being reversed at a rapid rate.

“If she is to continue as speaker, then the ruling party and its president will continue to loot state resources, launder money, evade taxes, and violate the constitution without any accountability”.

Malema added that Mapisa-Nqakula will be remembered in history “as an instrument of corruption, violence and the descent of this parliament into a haven for dictatorships who deploy the military to suppress peaceful protests”.

A total of 42 MPs voted in favor of the motion, 73 abstained and 234 voted against.

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