South Africa postpones President's no-confidence vote

Geneva Matthews
April 25, 2017

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma arrives with Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete to give his State of the Nation address at the opening session of Parliament in Cape Town, February 11, 2016.

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.

On Tuesday, Parliament said that Mbete was not opposed to a motion of no confidence in Zuma being held by secret ballot, but was rather not Constitutionally empowered to approve such a vote. He said the party believed that it would have been‚ "remarkably disrespectful for the National Assembly to proceed with the debate and vote while the Constitutional Court‚ the highest court in the Republic‚ was deliberating on a matter directly linked to the motion".

The ConCourt on Tuesday granted the UDM access to argue its application for a secret ballot when a motion of no confidence in Zuma is conducted.

The UDM wants the court to grant a secret ballot when the motion goes ahead.

He said further that his actions in executing a cabinet reshuffle were rational, and within his constitutionally mandated rights to do.

"I am however‚ bound by the Constitution of the Rules that the (National Assembly) has adopted".

Under the court ruling, other involving parties can file opposing papers until April 21.

Furthermore, it sought to overrule the ANC's own constitution, which ordered party members representing it in Parliament to show loyalty to the party, implying that the ANC was well within its mandate to punish or remove those who voted against directives.

With the motion now postponed, and a new date to be set by the programme committee, the political fight may well now unfold there.

"In terms of Rule 90, postponed motions remain on the programming system of the Assembly, thereby blocking any MP from tabling a similar motion until the one tabled is debated and voted on".

He said the fact that a motion of no confidence, for example, required the support of the majority to succeed did not mean that it was unconstitutional. "The court case is material to the motion‚" said Mathekga.

The motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is off, and will only be considered when MPs return to Parliament after the recess in early May.

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