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Sun Aug 28 14:20:54 SAST 2016

Threshold on motions of no confidence needed - ANC

Genevieve Quintal | 01 March, 2016 19:24
Kodwa said the debate was a waste of time. File photo
Image by: Judy de Vega/The Herald

Parliament should consider a threshold on the number of times it debates a motion of no confidence in the president, the ANC said on Tuesday.

"We would like to defend a vote of no confidence, it is an important element to keep the executive, particularly the president, accountable," national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

"But the way we think it is being abused is undermining the importance of a vote of no confidence."

He proposed that the threshold either be determined by the total number of MPs or by the number of people who support it before it was debated.

A motion of no confidence, brought by the Democratic Alliance, against President Jacob Zuma failed on Tuesday.

A total of 225 MPs voted against it, and 99 in favour, while 22 chose to abstain.

Earlier, the Economic Freedom Fighters said its MPs would not participate in the debate.

In a robust debate in the National Assembly, political parties booed, shouted and called each other names as they debated Zuma's fitness for office.

Opposition parties pleaded with the ANC to let President Jacob Zuma go, while the ruling party sang his praises.

Kodwa said the debate was a waste of time.

He accused the DA and its leader Mmusi Maimane of having no substance during the debate, saying it was nothing more but slogans.

"The main opposition has become weaker and weaker in engagement and content under Maimane.

"What is clear is that this is meant to hog headlines, but it has exposed the bankruptcy and desperation of the DA."

Kodwa accused the official opposition of deflecting from its own issues, which centered around racism.

It was because of the opposition that the ANC was becoming more popular, he claimed.

"They are giving us, which we welcome, free airtime. If you listen to the DA, in fact to all members of the opposition, it's free airtime for the ANC.

"None of them will finish a line without [mentioning] ANC."

The DA, in a statement after the debate, said the ANC had a chance to put forward comprehensive arguments on why the country should have confidence in Zuma, but that the ruling party failed to do so.

"It is telling that not one single ANC MP defended President Zuma's track record in managing the economy and the unemployment crisis," Maimane said.

"That is because there is not one single reason to continue having confidence in President Zuma."

He claimed Zuma had avoided accountability on Tuesday but believed that the day would come when he would be held accountable.

The SA Communist Party, an ANC alliance partner, congratulated Parliament for rejecting the motion of no confidence.

"The so-called motion of no confidence, among others based on these challenges, was destined to fail - with distinction as it did," spokesperson Alex Mashilo said in a statement.

"The only condition under which it could have succeeded are those of apartheid which were put forward by the DA when it wanted other members of Parliament to be excluded from participation in the house on the basis that they are ministers."

Last week, Maimane called on Cabinet ministers and their deputies to recuse themselves from the vote on the motion of no confidence based on the fact that it would have been a conflict of interest.

The ANC had rejected this saying there was no constitutional basis for this call.

Maimane on Tuesday said the fact that ministers and deputy ministers refused to recuse themselves showed that they were "prioritising their own pay cheques as opposed to the 8.2 million South Africans who do not have one".

"The Democratic Alliance afforded the ANC the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to the people of South Africa but they chose to draw a line in the sand, with the needs and aspirations of our people on one side, and the selfish needs and interest of President Zuma on the other side."

Source News 24

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