Cape Town — The ANC in the Western Cape has submitted an urgent motion in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature in an attempt to expedite the process of declaring a vacancy for the position of Speaker.
This comes after Masizole Mnqasela’s DA membership was terminated this week which created a vacuum — one the DA has been accused of being reluctant to fill as Mnqasela is challenging his axing in the courts.
“The provincial legislature must fill a vacancy… the legislature cannot operate without a Speaker,” read a part of the motion signed by the ANC’s leader of the opposition, Cameron Dugmore.
“The election of a new Speaker (should be done) no later than next week,” Dugmore wrote.
The DA’s communications director, Richard Newton, said the motion would be dealt with once it was formally tabled.
“Mnqasela (ended) his membership earlier this week and as such any positions he holds as a result of his membership then is no longer valid,” Newton told Weekend Argus.
“Given the legal action from Mnqasela 's legal team, the vacancy has not been filled and any motions in that regard will have to follow the prescribed processes.”
Weekend Argus understand that the motion will be entertained on Monday morning at 10am.
The Freedom Front Plus’s Peter Marais told Weekend Argus that he would support the motion to elect a new Speaker.
“Undoubtedly so,” Marais said. “We need honesty, transparency and I need them to declare this vacancy.”
He added: “We need reasons… on Thursday I asked: ‘Did Masizole resign or did you fire him?’ No one answered my question.
“The DA also treated me like this when I was mayor of Cape Town… I am asking here for equal treatment. Ek is ‘n mens en Masizole is ‘n mens.”
Al Jamah-ah’s Galil Brinkhuis said they too supported this motion.
“We need a Speaker and we need a Speaker now… the house is in a chaotic state and the current circumstances are very difficult,” Brinkhuis said.
The GOOD party’s Shaun August said he would also throw his weight behind the ANC’s motion.
“It’s concerning that we don’t have a Speaker… I will support the motion,” said August.
“I will, however, not say which candidate I will support for Speaker, but the motion itself will be supported by GOOD.”
The DA’s Federal Executive (FedEx) on Tuesday evening discussed “a letter of demand” tabled by Mnqasela, as previously reported.
In the lawyer’s letter, Mnqasela demanded the withdrawal of the cessation of his membership.
Mnqasela was given until 10am on Tuesday to re-apply for his membership following last week’s press conference, where he spoke out against the motion filed against him.
A FedEx-insider told Weekend Argus that Mnqasela wanted the cessation to be withdrawn before noon on Tuesday.
Thursday’s sitting of the house descended into chaos with members from opposition benches demanding answers on why Mnqasela wasn’t presiding over the meeting.
Chairpersons of different committee took turns presiding over the sitting but struggled to main order.
The offices of the Speaker and deputy Speaker have been embroiled in controversy this year.
This included a probe by the legislature’s conduct committee into deputy speaker Debbie Schäfer over her continued use of a luxury state-funded BMW she was no longer meant to have.
Mnqasela was also being investigated by the committee.
He allegedly hired an external law firm to probe the conduct of Schäfer, instead of using the Legislature’s internal legal team.
Mnqasela was also investigated for discrepancies in the declaration of his interest in a family trust, something the committee found him guilty of. He took the decision on appeal. Hence, the appeals committee was brought to life.
Attempts to get comment from Mnqasela were not successful.
His lawyer, Frank Raymond said: “No comment at this stage.”