Two weeks after Sona‚ parliament will debate another no confidence motion in Zuma
Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete has scheduled a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma‚ requested by EFF leader Julius Malema‚ for February 22.
The Economic Freedom Fighters had asked for special sitting of the National Assembly before next week's State of the Nation Address (Sona)‚ to debate a motion of no confidence in Zuma. The red berets hinted that there would be disruptions if their request was turned down.
Mbete‚ in a letter to the party‚ declined that request‚ saying the Sona was a joint sitting of parliament convened by the president in terms of constitution and she no authority to postpone it.
In response to Mbete's letter‚ EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said on Friday the party was dissatisfied with the date for its motion of no confidence in President Zuma.
“We still insist that we think that parliament be given an opportunity to assess whether Jacob Zuma is suitable to be president of South Africa even before he gives the State of the Nation Address‚” on February 8‚ he said on the sidelines of the EFF plenum currently under way in Johannesburg. "Because that will be a waste of time to listen to Jacob Zuma and a few days later we are debating whether he is suitable or not to be president."
Zuma survived the last motion of no confidence against him by a whisker in August last year when some ANC MPs voted for his ousting through a secret ballot.
Malema‚ inspired by the fact that Zuma is no longer ANC president‚ now believes there could be a different outcome this time around.
There is mounting speculation over who will deliver the Sona on February 8. Zuma will reportedly meet the ANC’s top six officials to discuss his future this weekend.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane had earlier requested that the Sona be postponed. He had argued that public money should not be wasted on allowing Zuma to deliver the Sona - outlining government’s programme of action for the coming year - when it was not likely that he would remain president for much longer.
Mbete has also written to Maimane‚ saying that she had “no power” to accede to the DA’s request for a postponement.
The EFF motion will be heard a day after the 2018 budget speech delivered by finance minister Malusi Gigaba‚ who is expected to outline how government will fund Zuma's free higher education plan.