Previous times MPs have been asked to vote in motion of no confidence in President Zuma

07 August 2017 - 17:06 By Staff Reporter
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane brought the motion of no confidence in the president in March.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane brought the motion of no confidence in the president in March.
Image: MOELETSI MABE

Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete has given the go ahead for a secret ballot on tomorrow's Motion of No Confidence debate against President Jacob Zuma.

The vote takes place in parliament from 2pm on Tuesday.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane brought the motion of no confidence in the president in March. However‚ the motion was delayed after the United Democratic Movement asked the Constitutional Court to order that the vote be conducted by a secret ballot. In June‚ the Constitutional Court ruled that there was scope in the Parliamentary rules for a secret ballot‚ and ordered Mbete to make the decision.

Since Zuma took office‚ several previous draft resolutions about motions of no confidence in the president have been brought before the National Assembly‚ parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo told Africa Check.

The first was brought by Cope but Maimane has been the most committed to the effort.

On 18 March 2010‚ AfricaCheck noted‚ the Congress of the People’s Mvume Dandala proposed a motion of no confidence in the president for his “failure to live up to the expectations of a broad spectrum of South Africans”.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete announced her decision on the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma at a press briefing on Monday afternoon. Video: Abigail Javier Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

This backfired spectacularly.

The African National Congress’ Ngoako Ramatlhodi moved to amend the motion to state that “the house has full confidence in the president of the Republic of South Africa and appreciates his leadership of the government and nation”. Of the members present for the vote‚ 235 voted to amend the motion‚ 88 voted against amending the motion and 5 abstained. As a result‚ the amendment was passed. On the revised motion – that “the house has full confidence in the president” – 242 members of parliament voted in favour‚ 83 voted against and 6 abstained.

In November 2012‚ the DA brought a motion of no confidence but this was not voted on.

Then on 3 March 2015‚ another motion of no confidence in Zuma was proposed by Agang SA member of parliament‚ Molapi Tlouamma. This was withdrawn‚ after the MP asked Speaker Mbete refused to recuse herself from presiding over the debate.

The prize for perseverance though goes to Maimane - who on 17 March 2015‚ 1 March 2016‚ 5 April 2016 and 10 November 2016 - brought previous motions of no confidence in President Zuma.

In the various motions‚ Maimane cited his concern that “independent institutions of the state have been politicised and weakened”‚ that “important institutions of state have been captured by private interest” and that “corruption has spiralled out of control” amongst his reasons for bringing the motions.

He also charged that “state resources‚ notably state security‚ law enforcement and prosecuting authorities have been mobilised to shield those interests from public scrutiny and investigation”.

He further moved that Zuma’s “irrational‚ irresponsible and reckless leadership had done immeasurable damage to the economy; eroded investor confidence; dramatically weakened the rand; and placed fiscal and economic stability at risk”.

The November 2016 motion failed after a debate lasting nearly two hours.

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu had called then for a secret ballot to be held to avoid any potential victimisation of ANC members who did not vote along party lines.

AfricaCheck and constitutional expert Pierre de Vos explained there are two ways that a South African president can be booted from office.

“Section 102 of the South African constitution allows for members of parliament to remove the president from office if they have lost confidence in him. majority is needed for the motion to pass.

“In the event that it passes‚ the president‚ his ministers and their deputies must resign.”

Section 89 of the South African constitution also allows for the removal of the president.

“This is sometimes referred to as 'impeachment'‚ although that term is not used in the South African constitution‚” said AfricaCheck.

Under this law‚ a president can be removed if there is a serious violation of the constitution or the law‚ in a case of serious misconduct‚ or inability to perform the functions of the office.

If a president is removed in this way‚ he may not receive the usual benefits of the presidency and cannot serve in any public office afterwards.

There has been one attempt to remove Zuma in this way.

On 5 April 2016 Maimane stated: “Zuma’s failure to comply with the remedial action taken by the public protector as set out in her report ‘Secure in Comfort’” was unlawful and inconsistent with the constitution.”

The motion was put to vote and did not pass.

Meanwhile‚ in June 2017‚ the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) handed a dossier of documents including a 175-page case docket and six annexures to Parliament that it said would help MPs with evidence in the vote of no confidence against Zuma.

The documents refer to Zuma allegedly misleading Parliament‚ his undue benefit from the security upgrades at his private homestead in Nkandla and how his close friendship with the Gupta family allegedly helped them land government deals.

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