‘It’s up to the gov­ern­ing party’

CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAKINANA andisiwe.makinana@city­press.co.za

United Demo­cratic Move­ment (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa says the de­ci­sion to re­move Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, and how to do so, is now out of the op­po­si­tion’s hands and up to the ANC.

The UDM took the land­mark case re­gard­ing Par­lia­ment being al­lowed to use a se­cret bal­lot in a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence against the pres­i­dent to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, and won.

Holomisa had said the se­cret vote would pro­tect ANC MPs who wanted to see Zuma re­moved but were wary of the reper­cus­sions. Op­po­si­tion par­ties and some civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions lob­bied ANC MPs to vote with the op­po­si­tion when the no con­fi­dence vote was held in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

“The ques­tion of lob­by­ing ANC MPs is no longer in our hands,” said Holomisa this week.

“They are being told even by their for­mer lead­ers, such as [Thabo] Mbeki and [Kgalema] Mot­lanthe, to put the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple first. It is no longer with us, it is within the ANC it­self to cau­cus those is­sues.

“At the time we went to court, there were no Gupta emails,” he added.

“The sit­u­a­tion has now be­come worse. What does the ANC do about this bribery and cor­rup­tion? What ac­tion are they go­ing to take?”

Holomisa said it was no longer about the op­po­si­tion call­ing for Zuma’s re­moval but a na­tional cri­sis, in which the ANC would have to side with Zuma or the peo­ple of South Africa.

Holomisa said he had “rolled out the red car­pet; now they must walk it”.

“They should give me a medal. I have fa­cil­i­tated the route for them,” he added.

In April, the UDM re­quested the Con­sti­tu­tional Court to rule on whether the Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly had the dis­cre­tion to de­cide on a se­cret bal­lot for a vote of no con­fi­dence against the pres­i­dent.

On Thursday, the court ruled that the Speaker had the con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to pre­scribe the vote by se­cret bal­lot.

Par­lia­ment wel­comed the di­rec­tion pro­vided by the court and said it was com­mit­ted to giv­ing ef­fect to the de­ci­sion.

On Friday, Par­lia­ment spokesper­son Moloto Mothapo said Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete was yet to take a de­ci­sion. He said she was still ap­ply­ing her mind and would re­spond ac­cord­ingly to the DA’s re­quest for the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence against Zuma to be sched­uled at the ear­li­est avail­able op­por­tu­nity. The UDM also wrote to the Speaker, re­quest­ing that the de­bate be held ur­gently. While the Con­sti­tu­tional Court has said it was up to the Speaker to de­cide on the se­cret bal­lot, par­lia­men­tary rules in­di­cate that the Speaker is ex­pected to con­sult the Na­tional Assem­bly’s rules com­mit­tee as part of her de­ci­sion-mak­ing process. A se­nior ANC MP, who is in­volved in the rules pro­cesses, said the Speaker did not have the author­ity to de­cide on her own as she was ac­count­able to the rules com­mit­tee. “The court said she must make a de­ci­sion. She knows that she con­sults with the rules com­mit­tee – that is where the power of Par­lia­ment lies,” said the MP. “When the Speaker has to make a big de­ci­sion, she has to con­sult the rules com­mit­tee,” added the MP. This echoes what the ANC par­lia­men­tary cau­cus said in a state­ment shortly af­ter the Con­sti­tu­tional Court made its rul­ing. “Notwith­stand­ing these mat­ters and the ef­fects of the en­gage­ments that will en­sue in the rules com­mit­tee, we are still stead­fast that whether such en­gage­ment will re­sult in a vote by se­cret bal­lot or not, and we have un­qual­i­fied and un­equiv­o­cal con­fi­dence in the ANC cau­cus not to vote in sup­port of a mo­tion to re­move the pres­i­dent of the ANC, who is also the pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of South Africa and our gov­ern­ment, from of­fice,” the party said. This means that, should Mbete con­sult the rules com­mit­tee, she can­not be held in­di­vid­u­ally ac­count­able for what­ever de­ci­sion she takes. The com­mit­tee, as with ev­ery other par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee, is dom­i­nated by ANC mem­bers and it is ex­pected that the party’s numbers would carry the day in the com­mit­tee’s con­sul­ta­tions with the Speaker. Zuma raised eye­brows on Thursday just hours af­ter the Con­sti­tu­tional Court rul­ing when he told Par­lia­ment that a se­cret bal­lot was “un­fair”. In some quar­ters, this was in­ter­preted as his pub­licly giv­ing Mbete her march­ing or­ders. “He should not have said that,” said Holomisa. “That was in con­tempt of the court, and he con­tin­ues to un­der­mine our in­sti­tu­tions of democ­racy – in this case, Par­lia­ment and the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.”

TALK TO US Are you ex­pect­ing any sur­prises from Par­lia­ment’s rules com­mit­tee re­gard­ing the se­cret bal­lot vote?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word BAL­LOT and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50.

BANTU HOLOMISA

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