South Africa’s Parliament on Tuesday voiced opposition to a court application from opposition parties, seeking a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma and the removal of National Assembly (NA) Speaker Baleka Mbete.
This came after the Western Cape High Court began hearing arguments on Tuesday in the application from Agang SA and two other opposition parties which are asking the court to allow a motion of no confidence in Zuma and to declare that the Mbete is not a fit and proper person to hold her office.
The opposition parties also demand that Mbete should not preside over a motion of no confidence in Zuma and that voting on such a motion should take place by secret ballot.
In response to the application, Parliament said it is opposed to every aspect of the application on the basis that Parliament’s rules in respect of the above issues are consistent with the Constitution.
“Section 102 (2) of the Constitution provides for motions of no confidence in the President which must be passed by a majority of Members of the NA,” Parliament said in a statement.
“The Constitution does not regulate the procedures by which a motion of no confidence is to be scheduled for debate and determination. Instead, section 57 (1) allows the NA to regulate these matters in its rules,” the statement said.
The NA Rule 102A regulates the procedures by which a motion of no confidence in the president is to be scheduled for debate and determination, said the statement.
The opposition parties had approached the Western Cape High Court before. On May 12, the court postponed hearing the application to today because the applicants failed to comply with rules of the court which require them to publish a notice to allow interested parties who may be affected to join the matter.
The court had rejected the applicants’ argument that the NA rule did not apply.
It had also rejected the applicants’ alternative argument that it was in the interests of justice to dispense with the notice requirement and proceed with the case without giving interested persons and civil society a chance to participate.
In an earlier attempt, the opposition parties approached the Constitutional Court for direct access to that court. But the court ruled that it was not in the interests of justice to grant direct access. Enditem