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Mbete elected National Assembly speaker

The ANC National Chairperson was elected after a lengthy voting process in Parliament.

Baleka Mbete (R). Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - ANC National Chairperson Baleka Mbete has returned to Parliament as National Assembly speaker.

She was elected after a lengthy voting process in the chamber on Wednesday afternoon.

Mbete takes over from Max Sisulu.

She held the post before being appointed ANC chairperson back in 2009.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe revealed Mbete's nomination on Tuesday.

He said the ANC wanted Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lechesa Tsenoli to act as Mbete's deputy.

That post was previously held by Nomaindia Mfeketo.

Mantashe rejected suggestions that Sisulu had been dropped because he ordered an ad-hoc committee to look into spending at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

DA NOMINATION RAISES EYEBROWS

The Democratic Alliance (DA) nominated Member of Parliament (MP) Nosimo Balindlela for the position.

Voting then took place by secret ballot.

Balindlela was recalled by the ANC in 2008 before becoming a Congress of the People (Cope) MP.

She then defected to the DA almost two years ago.

Proceedings in the National Assembly had to be suspended after the surprise nomination by the DA.

MPs cast their votes in special booths set up on the floor of the chamber.

The DA's nomination was largely symbolic as the ANC, who holds the majority of seats, easily put Mbete into the position.

EFF REFUSES TO VOTE

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema's first act as a Member of Parliament (MP) has been to abstain from voting for a National Assembly speaker.

Malema and his chosen MPs were dressed in bright red clothes.

The party said they would abstain from voting for a National Assembly speaker.

EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the party is not voting because it does not support the candidates.

"We take Parliament processes very seriously. We are not here to play games. The act looks like an empty publicity stunt that is taking huge amounts of time that could be invested elsewhere."