The Constitutional Court will make its ruling on Thursday on the UDM’s application to force National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to conduct the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma by secret ballot.
After Zuma’s controversial Cabinet reshuffle at the end of March, that saw Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan axed, among others, the opposition asked Mbete to schedule a vote of no confidence in Zuma.
It was initially set down for April 18. The opposition however asked for it to be postponed pending the application to the court for the vote to take place in secret.
Opposition parties hope this would encourage enough ANC MPs to vote against Zuma for it to succeed.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa had argued that Zuma’s reshuffle led to two ratings agencies downgrading the country’s debt to junk status. In addition, he said MPs had been threatened with losing their seats and with violence if they voted against him.
Mbete previously said the UDM’s application had no merit and it did not fall within the court’s exclusive jurisdiction.
She said if the court found she had the power to order a motion of no confidence via secret ballot, she would act in accordance with its ruling.
Markets have reacted to events at the African National Congress National Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg over the weekend.
The rand gained considerable strength when news emerged that a vote of no confidence had been tabled.
But it quickly retreated when the motion failed.
Economist Dawie Roodt says the rand is inextricably linked with President Jacob Zuma’s fate.
“It is interesting to watch financial markets because quite often, one can actually see how Jacob Zuma is doing by simply watching the exchange rate of the country.
“What has happened though over the weekend, as soon as it became clear that there would be a debate on the future of Zuma, the rand actually appreciates very strongly against most other currencies.”
Meanwhile, Zuma has come out swinging following the failure of a motion of no confidence in him.
The motion was tabled at the ANC NEC meeting over the weekend.
It failed to garner the necessary support to carry.
Zuma attacked his critics in the NEC in his closing address, saying he knows those who want him to step down are pushing an agenda of foreign forces and he’s warned them to stop.
Three sources in the ANC NEC have told Eyewitness News that Zuma was hard-hitting and furious when he gave his closing remarks at the NEC meeting, responding to those who called on him to step down.
It is understood that the president told the NEC meeting that those who wanted him to resign are pushing an agenda of foreign forces.
The sources say the furious president told the meeting that he was poisoned with the intention of being killed and warned that he knows who is plotting against him and where they get the money from.
It’s understood he also told the meeting that he can’t be blamed for the party’s loss of key metros, saying it was the ANC’s failure to manage regional dynamics that resulted in the poor showing at last year’s polls.
By Clement Manyathela for www.ewn.co.za
Several opposition parties have called for a new date for the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, which is due to be debated next Tuesday.
The UDM wrote to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete following a directive from the Constitutional Court on Tuesday regarding the UDM’s call for MPs to be able to vote via secret ballot.
The court granted the UDM access to argue the matter and allowed parties involved to file opposing papers. They had until Friday, April 21 at 16:00 to do so.
The UDM subsequently wrote to Mbete to propose that the motion be pushed to the week of April 25 to allow the respondents time to file their papers.
“An agreement between the parties should also entail this aspect,” the UDM said through its lawyers.
Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Mbete had received the letter and would respond accordingly.
Parliament said it had received the court’s directives and would comply with the timeframes.
He said the court made no injunction regarding the motion of no confidence. It was still scheduled to take place in the National Assembly at 14:00 next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Parliament said earlier on Tuesday that Mbete was not opposed to the principle of a secret ballot on such motions.
Mbete held no position on the matter, it said in a statement.
“Where the Speaker and the UDM disagree is in relation to the powers of the Speaker under the Constitution to make such a determination.”
The Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday also asked Mbete to postpone the motion of no confidence until after the Constitutional Court hears the matter.
The court’s decision to hear whether the vote could be done via secret ballot warranted a postponement from its current April 18 date, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.
In a separate letter, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said the Constitutional Court case could have a direct bearing on the nature and outcome of the motion.
Maimane added while Parliament waits a bit longer to debate Zuma’s fate, South Africans should join opposition parties as it marches to the Union buildings on Wednesday on Zuma’s 75th birthday.
By Thulani Gqirana and Paul Herman for News24