S. Africa Parliament Delays Zuma Confidence Vote on DA Request

25 April, 2017, 13:45 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • FILE UDM leader Bantu Holomisa

The speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, chose to delay the debate and vote on the motion after a request by the opposition Democratic Alliance for a delay pending the conclusion of an application to the country's top court seeking a secret ballot, Parliament said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning the message clearly was that the DA and EFF, which brought the request for the motion of no confidence, would have to withdraw it. "Rule 128 of the National Assembly rules stipulates that withdrawals of motions may only be made by the Member of Parliament in whose name they were tabled", according to a statement by Parliament.

But the UDM took the issue of a secret ballot to the Constitutional Court after Mbete said she had no powers to agree to this. There's no better illustration than the now-postponed No Confidence Debate, initially due this coming Tuesday, but postponed (reluctantly?) by the Speaker upon opposition party request. Why?

Alternatively, the UDM argued that the National Assembly Speaker had the discretion to determine the process, including the use of a secret ballot.

Zuma also addressed the motion itself, and the need for a secret ballot, saying that the UDM's claims of threats and intimidation are spurious and without merit. What I do as the President of the Republic requires compliance with the Constitution and the law. It has been postponed pending the conclusion of the court application.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and DA leader Mmusi Maimane‚ who has proposed the motion‚ were engaged in a day long toing-and-froing match over the issue on Wednesday with neither side prepared to relent.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says the Programme Committee will be requested to reflect on the implications of the postponement on the programme of the House, especially in light of Rule 90 (rule of anticipation).

The motion was to be debated at a specially convened sitting of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

It's called on an urgent national consultative conference to try and correct what they call the crisis within the governing party.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa threw a spanner in the works after asking the Constitutional Court to consider whether the motion of no confidence could be decided by a secret vote. "It is not for the courts to be concerned with political questions".

By the same token‚ therefore‚ when members seek to express motions of no confidence in the president‚ a secret ballot must also be used‚ he argued.


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