South Africa’s former Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who is ruling the African National Congress(ANC), Member of Parliament, has been elected the National Assembly’s new speaker.

Mapisa-Nqakula was elected by 199 MPs, beating DA candidate Annelie Lotriet who received 82 votes.

She becomes the sixth speaker of the assembly since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The former Defence Minister effectively swapped positions with her predecessor Thandi Modise who was appointed the new Minister of Defence two weeks ago.

Thursday’s vote was the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that parliament held a full sitting where all MPs attended physically.

MPs were spread over two venues, with some sitting in the public gallery of the National Assembly building as a measure to observe social distancing.

Judge President of the Western Cape High Court John Hlophe presided over the election of the speaker.

A total of 298 votes were cast.

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