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Former Joburg mayor elected NCOP chair

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Former City of Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo has been elected as the new Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Masondo was elected during the first sitting of the NCOP on Thursday morning to the position that was previously held by ANC’s Thandi Modise, who was yesterday elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Masondo was nominated by former Communications Minister Yunus Carrim unopposed after no further nominations were made.

Addressing the council, Masondo told members that the NCOP plays three basic functions – a representative, legislative and an oversight role to ensure that government is kept accountable.

“Let me take this opportunity to reassure you that we will do all we can to master and deepen the art of doing. We will not merely dwell on matters theoretically, as important as this might be. We will grapple with the most difficult – the art of doing. We will seek and strive to build the culture as we grapple with the critical issues in the context of cooperative governance.

“I commit and undertake to do so, sparing neither strength nor courage… to the best of my ability,” he said.

Immediately after Masondo’s election, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who presided over the session in the NCOP, congratulated Masondo, saying: “As I indicated, the nomination is in order… I accordingly declare the honourable Amos Masondo duly elected Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.

“…I seize this opportunity to congratulate honourable Amos Masondo on being elected Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and I invite you Chairperson to please come and occupy your rightful place,” he said.

Immediately after his election, Masondo presided over the election of the Deputy Chairperson and the Chief Whip of Council.

After Masondo invited nominations, Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela nominated ANC Northern Cape’s Sylvia Lucas for the position of Deputy Chairperson, and she was elected unopposed.

ANC’s Seiso Joel Mohai was elected Chief Whip of Council after he was nominated unopposed by former Buffalo City Mayor Zukiswa Ncitha.

Addressing council after the election programme was concluded, Ntombela told delegates that having heard the needs of the people, it was now time for provincial delegates to serve.

“I am sure all of us… have moved around all the provinces during elections and we have heard what our people want. We have listened to them as they were telling us their needs. We have heard our people crying for better and faster service delivery.

“They want jobs for their children. They [want] houses and sites. They are crying for water and electricity. So I just hope that the members that were sworn in today… will fulfil the needs of the people,” she said.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura took to the podium to congratulate all the provincial delegates who were sworn in and the elected office bearers.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said: “We believe that we should continue to work together as provinces to raise issues that affect our respective provinces. Without dwelling on these issues, we would also like to remind this house that it derives its existence from the will of the people as they expressed themselves on 8 May in the elections.

“While coming from different political parties, we should accept and work together and represent South Africans genuinely and pursue their interests. We wish the NCOP leadership well”.

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