22 May 2019

South Africa: Baleka Mbete and Malusi Gigaba Drop Out Amid a Series of Meetings and Party-Political Caucuses

Photo: GCIS
South African Deputy President David Mabuza

In Parliament, much centres on ceremony and official displays, including the media briefings by both the ANC and opposition DA after their first caucuses on Tuesday. The EFF was less publicity minded. But then there are the other meetings away from scrutiny, the ones that count.

Unity and bonhomie were on display by the ANC at its special parliamentary caucus on Tuesday, where "Phakama Ramaphosa, ixesha lifikile... Unity, unity" - the Nasrec ANC national conference party renewal song, loosely translated as "Rise, (President Cyril) Ramaphosa, your time has come" - resounded through the closed doors of the meeting venue, the Old Assembly Chamber.

About an hour later, caucus done and dusted, came an impromptu media briefing by the new ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina. The message? The whip would be cracked, and ANC MPs would have to work to implement the governing party's manifesto, with oversight being done "smarter and faster".

But it was Ramaphosa who, after formally registering as MP, slipped quietly into the suite of offices of the ANC chief whip, including V16, which doubles as the ANC meeting room at Parliament. Not even minutes later, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule moved past journalists in the same direction. What...

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