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DA to press Mbete for Zuma no confidence motion decision

By News24 29 June 2017

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has requested an urgent meeting with Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete to press her on making a decision on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

The Constitutional Court ruled last Thursday that Mbete has the power to decide whether a motion of no confidence in the president can be held via secret ballot.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen on Thursday said Mbete cannot delay any longer.

“It is has now been a week since I wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, calling for the DA-sponsored Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be scheduled at the earliest available opportunity.

“South Africans have, however, been treated to a deafening silence by Mbete’s save for a statement by Parliament noting that the Speaker ‘will… ensure the judgment is given effect’.”

Steenhuisen said there was no reason why the debate could not be scheduled on the first week of the third term.

Parliament goes on recess this Friday, and will sit again on July 31. The DA will lobby for the date to be set to Tuesday, August 1.

“NA Rule 129 is clear that the Speaker alone has the responsibility to schedule the motion and in doing so she must accord it urgent priority. She cannot drag her feet on this any longer.”

‘We will defeat this motion’

He said Mbete should prioritise her role as Speaker rather than ANC chairperson ahead of the ANC’s national policy conference, to be held from Friday until Wednesday.

Parliament last week repeated that Mbete has no personal or principled opposition to the use of a secret ballot in a vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, following the ConCourt’s decision.

Now that the court had clarified that the Speaker has the powers to conduct motions of no confidence by way of a secret ballot, she would ensure that the judgment is given effect, the statement said.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu meanwhile welcomed the court’s decision, saying it wouldn’t change the party’s stance that it won’t vote against its own president on an opposition-sponsored motion.

“We reiterate our long stated position that we will not support the motion of no confidence on President Jacob Zuma by opposition parties. We will defeat this motion of no confidence by the opposition as we have successfully done so in the previous four motions tabled in this fifth term of Parliament,” he said.

This would be the eighth motion of no confidence in the president over his two terms in office since 2009, but the first possibly done by way of secret ballot. DM

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