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Thu Dec 18 23:39:09 SAST 2014

No-confidence vote: ANC outfoxes DA

THABO MOKONE | 22 November, 2012 00:46
ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga at Luthuli House in Johannesburg. File photo.
Image by: KEVIN SUTHERLAND

ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga has proposed that the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma be debated in the National Assembly in February next year.

Motshekga, who earlier insisted the matter not be debated at all, yesterday said: "There is no question as to whether or not this matter has to be scheduled."

However, he said, such a debate could not take precedence over MPs' scheduled oversight trips.

Western Cape High Court Judge Dennis Davis will rule this morning on an urgent application by DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Mazibuko asked the court to order National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu to schedule a parliamentary debate on the motion of no confidence for today, before MPs go away for the December recess.

A debate on the scheduling of the motion did not take place yesterday as was expected.

No explanation was given for this.

Motshekga said cancelling MPs' oversight trips to convene a "special sitting" to debate a motion of no confidence on Zuma "would place a significant, administrative, logistical and financial burden" on parliament.

"This type of motion is also serious in nature and could have far-reaching implications for parliament, this country and our democracy, and therefore cannot be arranged hastily or impulsively.

"Members would also need to adequately prepare to enable them to meaningfully engage in this matter," said Motshekga.

"In this regard, we will impress upon parliament that this motion be scheduled for debate by the National Assembly on February 26 2013.

"We believe this is a reasonable time frame," he said.

Nevertheless, both Motshekga and Sisulu have asked Davis to reject Mazibuko's application, arguing it was frivolous and not urgent.

Motshekga said while rule 316 of the National Assembly provides for all motions and other issues on the programme of parliament to lapse at the end of the last day of the sitting house, his party undertook to prioritise the motion next year.

He denied that his proposal was designed to pre-empt the decision of the Western Cape High Court.

"As the majority party, we commit to support the revival of this motion to ensure that it returns back to the House in its current form," Motshekga said.

He promised to contact other parties in parliament regarding this position.

"This position does not seek to pre-empt or interfere with the court process that is currently under way, but to correct the inaccurate view that the majority party is not keen on debating this motion," he said.

A fortnight ago, nine opposition parties all endorsed a motion of no confidence in Zuma in terms of Section 102 (2) of the constitution.

In terms of that provision, the motion can succeed only if it is supported by more than 50% of the members of the National Assembly.

The ANC has 264 seats in the assembly, which means opposition parties need 67 ANC MPs to vote in accordance with them for the motion to be carried.

If it succeeds, Zuma, his cabinet and deputy ministers would be forced to resign.

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