The 400-member National Assembly (NA) today elected Ms Thandi Modise as NA Speaker, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli as NA Deputy Speaker and the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mr Ramaphosa was first elected, unanimously, as President on 15 February 2018. Following his election by the NA today, he will now be inaugurated as President of the Republic of South Africa on Saturday.
The Speaker is the leader of the NA and has the responsibility of providing political leadership and strategic direction and to exercise impartiality at all times in carrying out these duties. The Deputy Speaker deputises for the Speaker and performs other functions as designated by the Speaker, among other responsibilities.
Ms Modise was Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces during the fifth democratic Parliament. She is currently the Chancellor of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, a position she has held since September 2017. Ms Modise was first elected to Parliament in 1994 and served as the chairperson of several parliamentary committees, such as, the Portfolio Committee on Defence, the Joint Standing Committee on Defence and the Ad Hoc Committee for ratification of the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
She has also been a Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature (from 2004 to 2009) and Premier of the North West (from 2010 to 2014). Ms Modise has a long history of participation in the struggle for freedom from apartheid, starting with the 1976 student uprising. It included exile in Botswana and Angola and military training while in exile, as one of a tiny minority of women undergoing such training for the African National Congress.
Mr Tsenoli, elected Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly today, was also the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly during the fifth democratic Parliament. He was a member of the first democratic Parliament established in 1994.
From 1999 to 2004 he was the Member of Executive Council responsible for Local Government and Housing in the Free State Provincial Legislature. He also served as Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform from October 2011 and as Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs from July 2013 until the May 2014 elections.
He is currently a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party and has a long history of political activism in communities, youth and civic organisations.
He was the Publicity Secretary of the United Democratic Front in Natal, the founding National Deputy President and later President of the South African National Civics Organisation and was an active member of the ANC underground. Mr Tsenoli has certificates in adult education, public policy, facilitation and is a graduate of The International Program of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland on Organisation and Systems Development.