Outgoing Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane will not be sworn in at the opening of the sixth parliament of South Africa on Wednesday.
This follows reports on Monday that Mokonyane was appointed parliament’s chair of chairs, meaning that she won’t be taking up a position in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet.
Mokonyane then declined to take up her parliamentary seat hours before Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was scheduled to swear-in the members of the sixth parliament.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe has since confirmed that Mokonyane’s decision not to take up her position is as a result of “family responsibilities” and her being in mourning.
Mokonyane’s husband passed away in April.
“Comrade Nomvula has since advised the ANC that due to family responsibilities and her being in mourning currently, she believes she would be unable to diligently and with commitment, fulfill her duties at this stage as a Member of the sixth Parliament,” Mabe said.
“The ANC will accordingly reassign Comrade Nomvula to its headquarters at Luthuli House,” he continued.
Mokonyane’s postponement earlier on Wednesday followed a similar one from David Mabuza.
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has reportedly taken seriously a report by the ANC’s integrity committee that flagged Deputy President David Mabuza and many others among 22 problematic candidates, including Mokonyane.
Mokonyane is among a list of politicians who have all been implicated in corruption allegations heard at the commission of inquiry into state capture, and who were expected to resume positions in parliament this year. Other implicated ANC members who have raised eyebrows following reports that they would be returning to parliament include Bathabile Dlamini, Malusi Gigaba, and Mosebenzi Zwane.
The deputy president has also had his swearing postponed, leading to speculation as to whether or not he will resume his position.
This follows rumours that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma could take up the position of deputy president of South Africa, which Mabuza previously dismissed as “speculation”.
Both Mabuza and Mokonyane’s swearing-in is meant to have taken place today.
Speaking on the sidelines of a special meeting of the ANC’s national executive committee in Cape Town on Monday, Mabuza had earlier told The Sowetan that he would become deputy again: “Hayi, well, no, all the speculations are wrong.”
In a statement, Mabuza said he wanted to first deal with the report that found him to have brought the ANC into disrepute. The ANC statement added Mabuza had requested his swearing-in be postponed out of respect for the ANC’s institutions and processes.
Multiple sources told the Sunday Times that a “top-secret” deal brokered by ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile, with chair of the NEC subcommittee on communications Nkenke Kekana assisting, could see Mabuza becoming a full-time functionary at Luthuli House, with Mashatile possibly even becoming deputy president.
Ramaphosa on Wednesday commended Mabuza for his stance and for putting the “interests of the ANC first”.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)