April 18 Debate: Speaker Mbete Says Only Maimane Can Withdraw The Motion


As the said day for the controversial Motion of no confidence in Zuma debate draws near, there are speculations that the National Assembly Speaker Mbete will postpone the debate day following various requests.

However, the speaker says only the leader of the SA main opposition has the right to withdraw the motion.

Opposition parties like the EFF and the UDM had on Wednesday’s parliamentary meeting sent correspondence asking Speaker Mbete to move the scheduled day for the motion debate. The speaker insisted that the motion will only be moved at the request of the DA leader Mmusi Maimane in whose name the case was filed.

“The Motion of No Confidence, which the Speaker scheduled for 18 April 2017 at 14h00 in the National Assembly, in line with the urgent request, is tabled under the name of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Mmusi Maimane. Therefore, in terms of the provision in the rules, only Mr. Maimane – and not the Speaker – has the power to withdraw the motion,” Parliament said.

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The call for the motion to be moved came after South Africa’s constitutional court granted the United Democratic Movement  (UDM) direct access to argue its case that MPs be allowed to vote via secret ballot.

The court gave parties wishing to oppose the application until 12:00 on Thursday to file papers, and the UDM until 16:00 next Wednesday to file its reply.

In the directive issued on Tuesday, the chief justice said the parties had to file their written submissions by 16:00 on Friday, April 21. By this small victory, the party is therefore permitted to write to Speaker Mbete to ask for a postponement of the motion of no confidence in Zuma.

As part of its reasons for calling for a secret ballot during the motion against Zuma, UDM leader Holomisa explained that the absence of a secret ballot undermines the no-confidence motion. He also said the constitution expressly requires that a secret ballot ought to be used when the president is elected.

“It must follow that when the president is forced by the National Assembly to resign it must adopt the same procedure”, said Holomisa.

The DA, however, wrote to Speaker Mbete on Tuesday, asking for the motion to be postponed.

While the speaker is said to reply DA’s application and that of the EFF, former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said the motion of no confidence in Zuma is a futile exercise as MPs of the ruling party would never support opposition plans to remove Zuma from office.

The ANC NEC member explained no Tuesday that the exercise will be futile and a waste of taxpayers’ money because ANC MPs will be flown to Cape Town during recess to debate the motion and vote and win the case as it maintains a majority seat in the house

“Those who bring the motion and fight the motion are not taking the people seriously. If we take people seriously, we must say, what are the matters that society is putting on agenda and say as ANC, we will consider those matters without fear or favour,” Motshekga said.

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He said the motions were destroying the party’s credibility in the eyes of the public and that Parliament was not the correct forum to push for Zuma to step down.

“In short, it is not motions of no confidence that will arrest the deepening crisis, it is the intervention of the ANC,” Motshekga said while calling for a special NEC meeting to deal with growing calls for Zuma to resign, saying it is the only “competent” body to have a final say on the matter.

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