MK Party’s Dirks’ lost bid to become KZN legislature speaker

Ex-ANC member of the national assembly, Mervyn Dirks, who is a fierce critic of President Cyril Ramaphosa, has lost his bid to be elected speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party had fielded Dirks to contest Nontembeko Boyce, an ANC provincial executive committee member, for the position of speaker.

The odds were stacked against the former president Jacob Zuma-led MK party. But it had high hopes that other members might decide otherwise and vote for their candidate.

New Speaker backed by new alliance

At the end, Boyce, who was backed by the newly formed alliance of the DA, IFP, ANC, and NFP, emerged victorious. Boyce will be serving her second term as the speaker of the legislature. She was previously in the same position when the ANC had a majority.

On the other hand, Dirks, who was a vocal opponent of Ramaphosa, defected to the MK party. This was after being suspended by his party for alleged “unbecoming” behaviour.

In January 2022, Dirks wrote a letter complaining about Ramaphosa. He addressed the letter to Mkhuleko Hlengwa. This in Hlengwa’s capacity as chairperson of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa). In the letter, Dirks wanted Ramaphosa to hauled before the coals over a leaked audio clip.

In the widely circulated clip, Ramaphosa said he had knowledge of public funds which were used to fund internal party election campaigns. But said he would keep the secret to the grave.

Wanted Ramaphosa investigated over an audio clip

Dirks was unrepentant about taking on the president of his party.

“In a widely circulated clip of a recently held NEC meeting of my political party the African National Congress, the President of the country His Excellency Honourable Ramaphosa states that he is aware of public funds that were used for party political campaigning at Nasrec. The President further states that he will rather fall on his sword than revealing which individuals were involved in this serious and misuse of public funds,” read Dirks’ letter in part.

Dirks was subsequently suspended for his conduct in landing in the MK party fold. He was also vocal in saying Ramaphosa should be held accountable for the Phala Phala farmgate. This where Ramaphosa was accused of concealing the theft of millions of dollars. The money was allegedly stashed in the sofas at his Limpopo-based farm.

During Friday’s sitting, DA’s Mmabatho Tembe was elected deputy speaker.


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