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.
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
The 2016 Municipal Elections are happening today, with the political circus in overdrive as parties chase your all-important vote.
But how have Municipal Elections impacted the rand in the past?
What’s the difference between Municipal and General Elections?
General elections consist of a national and provincial vote. Nationally and provincially you vote for a political party (Proportional Representative or PR electoral system) to get seats in the national and provincial legislatures.
In municipal elections, you vote for a political party and a ward councillor (a mixed system of PR and ward constituency) to get seats at the municipal level. So it’s about selecting leaders for the country and province vs. selecting leaders for your city/town and local ward.
Which are more important, general or municipal?
If you think Municipal elections are note important, think again. Chances are your daily lives are more impacted by who leads your city/town/ward than who is leading the county. Think local road, refuse collection, rates you pay, sewerage and water.
What are the possible implications for the rand?
If previous elections (Municipal and General) are anything to go by, not much! Yes, we’ve seen little to no reaction in the currency market compared to previous elections. Does that mean elections are not important? Not at all, it just means that their immediate impact may be limited.
Why have elections had little impact in the past?
The real impact will depend on the policies set by the respected governing party. Policy takes a considerable amount of time to filter through the various levels of bureaucracy. Previous elections have been a near formality, with little to no real challenge to the ruling party. We’ve also seen relatively free, fair and peaceful elections in the past (and long may this continue).
What scenario could see rand improvement?
Free and fair elections with no violence/intimidation is really important. Considering all goes well come August 3rd, and opposition parties improve their showing, we could see the rand given a nice little boost.
What scenario could see rand weakness?
Any hint of violence/intimidation or elections that are not totally free and fair could impact negatively and cause a rand sell-off. Uncertainty/coalition governments in some of our larger metros could lead to a government in limbo and affect sentiment.
Source: Currencies Direct for www.currenciesdirect.co.za