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Ramaphosa, cabinet to face no confidence motions this week — here's how we got here

28 March 2022 - 10:30
DA leader John Steenhuisen said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet should be fired, with the exception of him. File photo.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet should be fired, with the exception of him. File photo.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet are set to face motions of no confidence this week. 

This comes after the DA and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) brought the motions before parliament. 

The debate on both motions is scheduled to take place during the National Assembly’s hybrid plenary in the Good Hope Chamber on Wednesday. 

ATM’S NO CONFIDENCE MOTION

The ATM tabled its motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa in February last year but it was rejected by then National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise. 

The matter then became the subject of litigation after it went to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which set aside Modise’s decision and referred the matter back to the speaker. 

Modise rejected the party’s request for a closed ballot on the vote.

The ATM will be before the Western Cape high court on Monday in a bid to have the motion of no confidence against Ramaphosa held via secret ballot. 

The party said the speaker erred in her decision-making and wants the court to set the decision aside.

DA’S NO CONFIDENCE MOTION

The DA tabled its motion last month during the debate on Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona). 

Party leader John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa’s cabinet should be fired, with the exception of him. 

Steenhuisen said cabinet had failed to provide services and security to citizens.

“We believe President Ramaphosa to be a lone voice in the ANC backing real reforms that would bring down poverty and unemployment. He has admitted this much by setting up a parallel state in his own office.

“President Ramaphosa lacks either the courage or the political support within his own party to replace his cabinet. The only way to achieve it, therefore, is with the support of opposition MPs,” he said.

EXCLUDING MINISTERS FROM VOTING

Steenhuisen said his party may argue for ministers to be excluded from voting in the motion of no confidence tabled against the cabinet.

“The mechanics of this, including whether ministers themselves, given the clear conflict of interest, will be allowed to vote will be teased out as the speaker proceeds to schedule the motion,” he told TimesLIVE

“Given this is a matter of individual conscience, at the very least we will be asking for an in-person vote and division.”

Steenhuisen said there were parties, which he did not name, which have indicated their support for the DA motion.

HOLOMISA THROWS IN HIS SUPPORT

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa threw his support behind the motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa’s cabinet. 

Taking to Twitter, he said cabinet members have “been enablers and gatekeepers of the looting spree we have witnessed over the years”.

“Above all they are lazy.”

DA’S SECRET BALLOT REQUEST REJECTED 

On Friday speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula declined the DA’s request for a secret ballot.

She said she was concerned a secret voting procedure may facilitate the possibility of negative practices aimed at influencing members to vote in a particular manner, since members will be shielded from scrutiny and accountability to the people they represent.

“I consider our democracy will be best served by members of the assembly who demonstrate openly that, in the event of a conflict between upholding constitutional values and party loyalty, they would follow the values and dictates of the constitution over political party loyalty, irrespective of the consequences that could befall their political career prospects individually,” she said.

DA TAKES LEGAL ADVICE

Speaking to the Sunday TimesDA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said the party is consulting its lawyers over what steps to take.

“We are working with our legal teams and many other [South Africans] who have offered their services. True democracy must prevail and if the ANC is as united as they say, they should welcome an open vote. Let’s ask where they will all be on voting day. Trust me,” she said. 

Mazzone said the DA is looking at all options, saying people have the right to vote with their conscience. 

“The atmosphere in parliament is so toxic [that] not a single member of the ANC will feel safe voting against their chief whip with their conscience. I think the speaker is making a mockery of this vote unless she allows people to vote with true freedom.”

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