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2024 ELECTIONS

The 7th Parliament: Meet your new (and returning) MPs

The 7th Parliament: Meet your new (and returning) MPs
Illustrative image | A look at the opposition MPs going into Parliament, from left: Rise Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart) | Bosa leader Mmusi Maimane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sydney Seshibedi) | ActionSA Premier candidate for Eastern Cape, Athol Trollip. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier) | Cape Coloured Party leader Fadiel Adams. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais) | Good party leader Patricia de Lille. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti) | The IEC Results Operation Centre in Midrand on 1 June 2024. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

On Thursday, the Secretary to Parliament received the list of the 400 members of the National Assembly elected through 18 political parties who will become the MPs of the seventh Parliament. We take a look at who they are.

The 400 MPs due to be sworn into the National Assembly will make for a fascinating seventh Parliament – not least because the ANC has lost its parliamentary majority and, for the first time in the democratic era, Parliament may be a site of genuine, substantive contestation and debate.

Here we take a look at some of the most notable deployments on the opposition benches, following our reporting on the new composition of the ANC caucus.

It is still unclear whether the 58 MPs from the MK party will be sworn in, with Prof Pierre de Vos confirming that if they decide to boycott Parliament, it would not materially affect the functioning of the House. If the party confirms that its MPs will take up their positions, we will dive into its party list in the days to come.

Good party

The Good party had a poor showing in this election, bringing home just under 30,000 votes – enough for only one seat in the National Assembly.

What this means is the intriguing reality that Good party leader Patricia de Lille will return to Parliament for the first time since 2010. After 14 years in which she has represented three political parties – the Independent Democrats, the DA, and Good – De Lille will be back in the National Assembly as the sole backbencher from her party, spokesperson Brett Herron confirmed to Daily Maverick on Thursday.

To be an ordinary MP would be quite a change of pace for De Lille, who last held such a position as a representative of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) in the 2000s. She has since gone on to be Western Cape MEC for social development, Mayor of Cape Town (before a messy divorce from the DA) and latterly Minister of Public Works and Minister of Tourism in the Cabinet of Cyril Ramaphosa.

De Lille could, of course, still be tapped for another executive role now – or even a position such as Speaker, given that she might be viewed as one of the more politically neutral but experienced figures, having worked with both the ANC and the DA.

ActionSA

ActionSA is sending six MPs to the National Assembly. 

Some voters may feel aggrieved that party leader Herman Mashaba will not be among them, given the extent to which ActionSA’s election campaign was built around the persona of the man they call “Mr Fix-It”.

But Mashaba and party chair Michael Beaumont insist this will not be an Agang situation – which saw the party that was founded and led by Mamphela Ramphele win two seats in the National Assembly, only for Ramphele to withdraw from the party (and politics).

Mashaba and Beaumont say they will focus on continuing to grow the party nationally while stepping back from Parliament “to allow for a team that will punch above its weight”.

ActionSA’s team, though predominantly made up of political newbies, does read as an impressive crew – it includes the party’s dynamic national spokesperson Lerato Ngobeni, a former Programme Manager at Harvard University’s Centre for African Studies.

The best-known name among them is Athol Trollip, former DA federal chairperson who left the DA in protest over the scapegoating of Mmusi Maimane for the party’s poor 2019 election result.

Trollip later said of the pushing out of Maimane by the DA: “I had spent 38 years building up trust in black communities in the Eastern Cape, and with one very bad decision that trust had been destroyed.”

It will be interesting to see how he will relate to his former colleagues on the parliamentary benches after years in top-level DA leadership.

Build One South Africa

Also fascinating to witness: former DA leader Mmusi Maimane taking up one of two seats for his party, Build One South Africa – presumably not too near the DA caucus he used to lead.

Maimane’s recently published book, Dare to Believe: Why I Could Not Stay in the DA, makes it clear just how betrayed he felt by the manoeuvring against him by now-DA leader John Steenhuisen.

Democratic Alliance

The DA is fielding a familiar team to Parliament, although the party list reveals the remarkable ascent of Ashor Sarupen, aged just 35, now second on the list after John Steenhuisen and a protégé of Helen Zille. Sarupen served as the party’s deputy campaign manager for the election. Sarupen was only at number 27 after the 2019 elections.

It also shows the rise of an MP like Leon Schreiber, who has been a controversial figure in his battles over the Stellenbosch language policy but an effective pitbull in going after the ANC over cadre deployment records. Schreiber is now at number 16. 

Another Steenhuisen favourite, international relations spokesperson Emma Powell, has also risen through the ranks to now sit at 23.

One of the DA’s high-profile recruits is Ian Cameron, a safety and security activist who has drawn public attention by aggressively taking on police minister Bheki Cele at various events.

Also making it to Parliament for the DA is former Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, who stepped down in 2021 after Daily Maverick exposed the fact that he had lied about his qualifications.  

Economic Freedom Fighters

The EFF is also sending a fairly familiar team in a fairly consistent list order, although reduced in numbers by five MPs after a drop in votes between the 2019 and 2024 elections.

The most notable purge has been that of former MP Naledi Chirwa, once hailed as one of the rising stars of the EFF, but quite brutally punished by leader Julius Malema for her failure to appear at a meeting and subsequent public explanation that she had to take care of her sick, newborn baby.

Unemployment beckons for former Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who was not far enough up the EFF lists to make it to Parliament. But political grifter Carl Niehaus has struck it lucky once again, squeaking in for the EFF from the Gauteng regional list.

Celebrity lawyer Dali Mpofu and less-celebrity lawyer Godrich Gardee had both appeared high up on the party’s preliminary lists, but neither will be taking up seats, presumably because both have a constant stream of questionable RET-related cases to keep them busy.

Patriotic Alliance

Gayton McKenzie is guaranteed to clash with whichever unfortunate soul inherits the Speaker position, due to his exceptionally intemperate language at the best of times. You can expect the Patriotic Alliance leader to bring thuggish, bombastic rhetoric into the House, particularly on subjects like immigration.

He is joined by a remarkable eight other MPs, of whom the best known is Ashley Sauls – a controversial former mayor of Beaufort West who memorably once proposed changing the name of the Western Cape town to “Dubai West”.

National Coloured Congress

The Patriotic Alliance has campaigned vigorously for coloured votes, and as such will either find common cause or be mortal enemies with the two MPs from the National Coloured Congress, also taking up seats in the National Assembly for the first time.

Leader Fadiel Adams, who tops the party list, has previously fallen foul of the Equality Court for racially offensive language after drawing attention to the claim that because Cape Town city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo was from the Eastern Cape, he did not care about “coloured lives”.

Adams is a self-described “high school drop-out” and “construction worker” who has openly said that he is going to Parliament to fight for the interests of coloured South Africans. DM

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Carl Niehaus would not make it to Parliament. Much as many might wish this to be fiction, he will in fact be a new MP. We regret the error.

Gallery

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