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Rise Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi. Picture: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day
Rise Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi. Picture: Freddy Mavunda/Business Day

Rise Mzansi's Songezo Zibi has been elected unopposed as chair of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).

Zibi will head the committee that ensures the public purse is accounted for. He was nominated by the ANC’s Lusizo Makhubela and seconded by the DA’s Patrick Atkinson.

The EFF objected to Zibi’s election but did not field its own candidate.

EFF MP Veronica Mente said the party did not object to the individual, but rather over the departure from long-held tradition that an opposition MP should chair Scopa.

Mente said that Rise Mzansi was part of the government of national unity (GNU) so the EFF did not consider Zibi an opposition MP.

ActionSA’s Athol Trollip was also touted for the position. He arrived late to the sitting after Zibi’s election.

Trollip blamed staff for not communicating the proper time and venue. It later appeared he had not read a text message communicating the change in scheduling for the election.

“This is a responsibility I don’t take lightly, but I look forward to working with all the committee members to tackle the business of the committee and the programme we have,” Zibi said shortly after his election.

“I look forward to working with the members from all the political parties that are represented in Scopa because the South African people expect us, particularly this committee, to see that the work of parliament is done.”

Zibi described himself as a servant of the people. The former Business Day newspaper editor, who has a background in corporate communications, had the support of both the ANC and DA.

Rise Mzansi sent him a message of support, saying he must protect the public by being a vigilant watchdog who acts without fear, favour or prejudice.

“Scopa now has a new leader who will work with and for the people of South Africa to ensure that money is spent and accounted for in the pursuit of building a safe, prosperous, equal and united South Africa,” Rise Mzansi said.

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