20 March 2019

South Africa: The House Rises Ahead of Elections in a Last Sitting Marked By Tragedy and Electioneering

analysis

The last sitting day of the National Assembly on Wednesday unfolded against the family tragedy of ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu, whose daughter had died the night before. But with Parliament rising for the 8 May elections, the focus was soon back on electioneering and acerbic politicking as MPs from every political party represented in the House used their time on the podium to tout for votes.

The condolences for ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu and his family poured in from early Wednesday morning from across the political spectrum, and the length and breadth of South African society. Just past 7am, he had taken to Twitter: "My eldest daughter, Khwezi Mthembu, last night committed suicide at our Pelican parliamentary village home in #Capetown. We are in deep pain. We don't know what led her to take her own life at such a tender age of 25 years".

At Parliament, finance committee chairperson Yunus Carrim called a minute of silence before his committee, alongside three others, started considering illicit financial flows. "I've had the privilege for working for five chief whips. I can tell you, he's very, very good... He's a very humane person. He's a remarkable person," Carrim said of...

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