|6. May 2009
Zuma Makes His Return to Parliament
President-elect Jacob Zuma will be among the first group of MPs to be sworn in today when Chief Justice Pius Langa does the honours for the 400 new members of the National Assembly.
This will bring Zuma full circle as he returns to the house from which he resigned after then president Thabo Mbeki dismissed him as deputy president of the country.
There was speculation about whether President Kgalema Motlanthe would be sworn in as an MP today because a sitting president is not a member of the National Assembly. He remains president until the new president assumes office on Saturday. The Government Communications and Information System said Motlanthe would not be sworn in until he exits the highest office in the land.
Speaking after a meeting of the African National Congress' (ANC's) new parliamentary caucus, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said there was no doubt that Motlanthe would be sworn in as an MP after Zuma had become president.
He said the main purpose of the meeting was to reaffirm the ANC national executive committee announcement last week of the party's new leadership in Parliament. He said all those appointments -- Max Sisulu as speaker, Nomaindia Mfeketo as deputy speaker, Mathole Motshekga as chief whip and Bulelani Magwanishe as deputy chief whip -- were reaffirmed at the caucus meeting.
There was one change to the earlier announcement, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge had been replaced as chairwoman of the ANC's caucus and would be leaving Parliament. This was at her own request, Mantashe said. He declined to speculate on what the controversial former deputy health minister would do in the future, saying he was not her spokesman.
Madlala-Routledge's place as chairwoman of the caucus was given by appointment to Mildred Oliphant.
In response to a question as to who would be the leader of government business in Parliament, Mantashe said that would be the deputy president of the country and the person was unknown at the moment. He said the deputy president would be announced by Zuma along with the rest of the new cabinet after his inauguration.
Motshekga and Magwanishe said that after members of the National Assembly were sworn in today it would be the turn of the members of the National Council of Provinces tomorrow. Mantashe said the council's chairman, Mninawa Mahlangu, would retain his position to give continuity.
The state of the nation speech and the official opening of the fourth democratic Parliament would take place on June 2.