22 May 2019

South Africa: Thandi Modise Is Set to Don the Role of Madam Speaker

Former National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise is expected to be sworn in as speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday, after receiving the governing party's backing on Monday.

Modise - the first female Umkhonto we Sizwe member to be incarcerated during the struggle in the 1970s - will now succeed Baleka Mbete as the head of the sixth democratic Parliament.

Along with other incoming members of the sixth Parliament, she will file into the National Assembly at 10:30 on Wednesday, and will take the oaths of affirmation, led by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

On Monday, the ANC announced that it would nominate her as the speaker of the National Assembly when it sits on Wednesday, an announcement expected and welcomed by many in the ANC, with some describing her as firm but fair.

Former premier

Modise boasts a long list of credentials, which include serving as deputy secretary of the ANC, deputy president and president of the ANC Women's League, and premier of the North West.

She previously served as chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and most recently, NCOP chair - a role she occupied since 2014.

In 2018, Modise and ANC MP Thoko Didiza, EFF leader Julius Malema and late president Nelson Mandela's grandson, Mandla Mandela, formed part of a delegation deployed to the Pan African Parliament on behalf of South Africa.

Modise was the first House chairperson in Parliament to kick Malema out of the House in 2014, after he said the "ANC government massacred the people in Marikana", setting in motion a regular trend in the National Assembly.

Not without controversy

She, like many politicians, is not without controversy.

Modise made headlines in 2014 after the national SPCA discovered 79 dead animals, including 58 pigs, on a farm owned by her.

The NSPCA described the incident, where it was believed that some animals had started cannibalising on the dead, as the "worst case of farm animal cruelty in 20 years".

This matter still hangs over Modise's head. AfriForum's private prosecutions wing declared last month that it was ready to take her to trial on behalf of the NSPCA.

Proceedings are expected to start on June 1.

Source: News24

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