POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Spotlight shifts to players in parliament
Chief justice to preside over swearing-in of incoming MPs and president
Parliamentary matters are likely to dominate politics in the week ahead, with chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng administering the swearing-in of MPs in the National Assembly, representatives of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and, ultimately, the president-elect of SA.
Ahead of that, the ANC will hold a special meeting of its national executive committee in Cape Town on Monday, where it is expected to finalise the party’s plans before its members are sworn into the country’s national and provincial legislatures. It is also yet to announce who will be its premier-elect in the North West. The ANC caucus in parliament is expected to meet on Tuesday.
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On Wednesday, Mogoeng will preside over the swearing-in of the 400 MPs and preside over the election of the speaker of the National Assembly, who in turn presides over the election of the deputy speaker, said parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.
In the same sitting, Mogoeng will preside over the election of the president — set to be Cyril Ramaphosa — who is selected from among the MPs in the National Assembly.
“The president, once elected, ceases to be an MP and must take up office within five days of being elected,” said Mothapo.
On Thursday, Mogoeng is set to preside over the swearing-in of the permanent delegates of the NCOP, and the subsequent election of the NCOP chair,who in turn presides over the election of the NCOP deputy chair, house chairs and the chief whip.
Mogoeng, who received the lists of successful candidates to the National Assembly and provincial legislatures on Wednesday said he would be privileged to administer the MPs’ oaths and affirmations of office.
“I can only hope that none of those who take the oath will be against it,” said Mogoeng, adding that SA needs a parliament and provincial legislatures that hold the executive to account. He also implored incoming MPs to implement ethical leadership and not “itch for power”.
On Saturday, Mogoeng will preside over the swearing-in of the president-elect. For the first time in SA history, the event is to be held at the 37,000-seat Loftus Versfeld Stadium instead of the Union Buildings in Tshwane.
Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said the stadium had been chosen because it would be more cost-effective than the Union Buildings, and allow for a more inclusive inauguration.
In other political matters, former president Jacob Zuma is back in the Pietermaritzburg high court this week, where his legal team will be arguing for a permanent stay of prosecution.
Zuma’s legal team will argue that the case against him has been compromised by the state’s “unreasonable delay” in putting him on trial, as well as political interference in his prosecution. It contends that Zuma should have been put on trial with his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, who was convicted in 2005 of keeping him on a corrupt retainer to do his bidding.
The state, in turn, has accused Zuma of using “Stalingrad” tactics to avoid facing prosecution.
In Johannesburg, the state capture inquiry will continue hearing testimony from former Transnet electrical engineer Francis Callard. Last week, he told the commission about how the state-owned entity’s executives misled its board acquisitions and disposals committee when it presented a business case motivating that the purchase of 100 electric trains be confined to Gupta-linked China South Rail.