From the news desk

Mbete on extended leave

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National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has only been in Parliament three times since taking her seat, City Press reported on Sunday.

Mebte, who was redeployed from Luthuli House where she was ANC chairwoman, has not presided over a sitting of the House since the start of Parliament’s new term.

She was in Parliament the day she was elected Speaker, for President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address and to present the legislature’s budget vote to the National Assembly.

According to the report, word doing the rounds in Parliament was that she was ill. This was confirmed by senior officials.

Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said Mebte had been advised to rest as much as possible given her state of health. He said Parliament was confident she would resume her duties on August 18.

“We are quite aware she has not been well, was advised to receive treatment and that she must rest as much as possible so she recovers before she returns,” Tsenoli was quoted as saying.

He said the African National Congress’s national executive committee had given officials time off to rest following a taxing election campaign.

Zuma was admitted to hospital in June and was booked off work so that he could rest.

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said Mbete had taken extended leave to rest after elections. SAPA

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