South Africa

Mantashe slams DA’s attempt to oust Parliament speaker

The chairman of South Africa’s ruling party said he won’t back a proposed motion of no confidence in the speaker of parliament, who faces arrest over allegations of corruption.

African National Congress Chairman Gwede Mantashe described the motion brought by the main opposition Democratic Alliance against Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as “opportunistic.”

Mapisa-Nqakula had approached the High Court in an urgent bid to delay her pending arrest over allegations she accepted bribes from a contractor when she was minister of defence. A ruling is scheduled for 2 April.

“I don’t know if I can speak for the ANC on that one for now because we have not had a caucus about it, but I will not support it,” Mantashe said in an interview at Bloomberg’s offices in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The controversy surrounding Mapisa-Nqakula, a senior ANC leader, comes two months before South Africa holds national elections in which the party is at risk of losing its national majority for the first time since it came to power three decades ago.

Opinion polls show voters are dissatisfied with the ANC over issues, including its failure to deal decisively with state corruption.

Mantashe said Mapisa-Nqakula has done the right thing by taking a special leave of absence to deal with the allegations.

Opposition parties, including the DA, have argued that the leave of absence is unlawful and have called on her to resign.

“I think it is very opportunistic of them, and opportunism is dangerous in politics, you never succumb to it,” Mantashe said.

While the acting speaker of parliament has granted the request for the motion of no confidence, the date for a vote has yet to be set.


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