As the swearing-in of MPs for the country's sixth democratic Parliament got off to a start on Tuesday, the sudden absence of Nomvula Mokonyane and David Mabuza dominated gossip on the parliamentary precinct. But this particular parliamentary occasion always feels a bit like the first day of school - with the term still new and radiant with possibility.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, fresh from a #MeToo sabbatical, buzzed around the parliamentary precinct on Tuesday morning giving interviews to journalists on the cusp of South Africa's sixth Parliament.
Kodwa was much in demand, due to the unexpected drama with which the day was kicking off.
Not only were Malusi Gigaba and Baleka Mbete to be absent from the MP swearing-in, having withdrawn themselves at the last minute, but it appeared that deputy president David Mabuza and former environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane would ultimately not bend the knee before Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng either.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng swears in Members of the Sixth Parliament in the National Assembly, 22 May 2019. Photo: Leila Dougan/Daily Maverick
Mabuza would watch proceedings from the parliamentary gallery usually used to seat former presidents - of which there were none around. Thabo Mbeki is in...