Constitution doesn’t provide for ‘second deputy president’: IFP spokesperson

IFP President, Velenkosi Hlabisa. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya / Independent Newspapers

IFP President, Velenkosi Hlabisa. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 11, 2024


The IFP has poured cold water on reports that the party’s president Velenkosini Hlabisa is being tipped as the second deputy president.

Party spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said those pushing that narrative were putting the carriage before the horse.

Hlengwa said this was just an attempt by “these peddler’s” to try to manipulate the party to legitimise their political views.

“There is no such as a second deputy president, that is the constitutionally prescribed position, such position would need for the Constitution to be amended to allow for such appointments.

As a party we have never spoken or attempted to approach the negotiations with that mentality, because we first need to understand how the Government of National Unity (GNU) would be set up what it would entail,” the party’s spokesman said.

Hlengwa said at this point the IFP was in talks with all political parties that would want to serve and bring stability to the country’s economy and future.

He re-assured the party’s electorate that the IFP would attend Friday’s first sitting of the National Assembly as they were elected to do so by the majority of the party’s members and electorate.

The IFP spokesperson’s sentiment on the “second deputy president” was seconded by constitutional expert Pierre de Vos who said there cannot be two deputy presidents as Section 91(1) of the Constitution only allowed for the appointment of one deputy president.

As for former apartheid president FW de Klerk being made second deputy president, De Vos said De Klerk was made second deputy president because at the time the country had an interim Constitution, adding that those provisions ended in 1999.

The constitutional law expert emphasised that the “new” Constitution did not provide for the country to have a second deputy president.

On the question of whether the uMkhoto weSizwe Party has a solid chance of winning the interdict, De Vos said the party’s application was not going to succeed.

This was not only because it was asking the court to override the Constitution -- which required the first sitting to be held within 14 days after declaration of the election results - but also because Section 46 of the Constitution did not say what MK party thought it said.

“Section (S) 46 reflects a compromise between negotiators who wanted to keep the size off the National Assembly (NA) at 400, and others who wanted to reduce the size to 350, by delegating the determination of the size of the NA to the legislature.

Section (S) 46(2) does this by requiring an Act of Parliament to provide a formula for determining the number of members of the NA, but S 46(1) restricts the discretion of the legislature to a size between 350 and 400. S 114 of the Electoral Act, read with Schedule 3 of the Act, fixes the size at 400.

If the legislature amends these sections to reduce the size to less than 350 or more than 400, this amendment will be invalid for breaching S 46(1),” he added.

De Vos said a decision by more than 50 Members of Parliament (MPs) not to be sworn in obviously did not amend the provisions of the Electoral Act that fixes the size of the NA at 400.

“Whether they are sworn in or not, the size of the NA as determined by the legislature remains at 400.

“S 53 of the Constitution requires one third of the MPs (134) to be present to make ordinary decisions, and one half (200) to be present to pass legislation.

“As long as 134 MPs are sworn in and present when the president is elected the election will be valid.”

The Star