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Deputy speaker takes over Mapisa-Nqakula’s role

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli has been appointed acting Speaker following Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s leave of absence due to a corruption investigation.

Mapisa-Nqakula took special leave a day after her house in Cape Town was raided by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate last week.

She is accused of accepting kickbacks worth R2.3-million from tender beneficiaries during her tenure as defence minister.

In a statement on Sunday, parliament announced that Tsenoli would act in her position.

“According to the rules of the National Assembly, specifically Rule 24, in the event of the Speaker’s absence, inability to perform her duties or vacancy in the office, the deputy Speaker is required to assume the role of acting Speaker.

“In light of this, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, will serve as the acting Speaker during the Speaker’s leave. He will assume all functions, powers and responsibilities vested in the Speaker,” the statement said.

Addressing concerns by opposition parties that Mapisa-Nqakula’s leave of absence was not provided for in the rules of the National Assembly, Parliament said according to the rules if the speaker was not able to perform her duties the deputy speaker takes over as acting speaker.

“The Speaker’s leave of absence is provided for in the Rules of the Assembly, which state that if a member’s absence extends beyond 15 consecutive sittings of the House, a motion explaining the reason and duration of the absence must be introduced.

Considering that the National Assembly has only three plenary sittings remaining before it adjourns at the end of March for the national and provincial elections on 29 May, the formal motion process will not be required in this instance,” said parliament.

The national legislature said in terms of the rules, Tsenoli will assume all powers vested in the Speaker since he is now acting in the position.

Pictured above: Acting parliamentary speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

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