BALEKA’S DILEMMA

Mo­tion could be a dou­bleedged sword

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI, TEBOGO MONAMA AND ZINTLE MAHLATI

THE VOTE on the mo­tion of no-con­fi­dence in Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma will be an op­por­tu­nity for ANC MPs to re­deem them­selves to their con­stituen­cies.

This was the as­ser­tion by ANC stalwart Syd­ney Mufamadi yes­ter­day af­ter the Con­sti­tu­tional Court’s rul­ing that Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete has the pow­ers to al­low a se­cret bal­lot.

“MPs should think of the vote as an op­por­tu­nity to cor­rect a wrong they did. The vote will be an op­por­tu­nity to test where their loy­alty lies – with the peo­ple of South Africa, or not. If they fail to hold the pres­i­dent to ac­count then that has neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tions,” Mufamadi told The Star.

He said there was no ba­sis to deny a se­cret bal­lot.

“She (Mbete) said she was not op­posed to it and now she has been en­light­ened. She can­not change her mind now and say she is against it be­cause she never gave rea­sons be­fore why a vote of no-con­fi­dence should not be held in se­cret.

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said Mbete should use her dis­cre­tion in de­cid­ing whether to al­low the use of a se­cret bal­lot dur­ing a mo­tion of no-con­fi­dence in Zuma.

Man­tashe told The Star there was no need for the party to hold a meet­ing on the mat­ter.

“The Speaker is the Speaker of Par­lia­ment. The Con­sti­tu­tional Court says she has pow­ers to ex­er­cise her dis­cre­tion. When you are a rul­ing party you don’t run the port­fo­lio of a per­son in finer de­tails. You al­low the per­son to ex­er­cise her mind,” he said.

Mbete had ar­gued that she was not em­pow­ered to in­sti­tute a se­cret bal­lot. But the court yes­ter­day threw the ball in her court, push­ing her into a tight cor­ner on whether to grant it or not.

Man­tashe said Mbete’s use of her dis­cre­tion on the mat­ter was in line with the court’s judg­ment.

He was re­act­ing to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court’s de­ci­sion con­firm­ing the ar­gu­ment by op­po­si­tion par­ties, led by the United Demo­cratic Move­ment, that Mbete had the pow­ers to al­low for a se­cret bal­lot.

UDM chief whip Nqaba Kwankwa has writ­ten to Mbete to ask her to sched­ule the mo­tion in Par­lia­ment ur­gently.

De­liv­er­ing his ver­dict yes­ter­day, Chief Jus­tice Mogoeng Mogoeng said: “The Speaker says that nei­ther the con­sti­tu­tion nor the rules of the Na­tional As­sem­bly al­low her to au­tho­rise a vote by se­cret bal­lot.

“To this ex­tent, she was mis­taken. Our in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions of the con­sti­tu­tion, and the rules, make it clear that the Speaker does have the power to au­tho­rise a vote by a se­cret bal­lot in a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the pres­i­dent.”

There were fears in the ANC that de­spite the party in­struc­tion that their MPs should sup­port Zuma, those op­posed to the pres­i­dent might use the se­cret bal­lot to vote to oust him.

A few hours af­ter the judg­ment, Zuma told MPs that he did not sup­port a se­cret bal­lot and that the mo­tion would be de­feated for the eighth time.

Zuma was un­per­turbed in Par­lia­ment dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion, deny­ing there were any con­vinc­ing rea­sons by op­po­si­tion par­ties for a se­cret bal­lot.

“How did we vote in the seven (mo­tions of no con­fi­dence in the past)? Why this time we do it dif­fer­ently?” he said.

“My view is that we have to do what we have done in the past times,” he said.

Zuma said he was fit and proper to lead the coun­try and would not go, be­cause the ANC had not re­called him. “I think the peo­ple of South Africa did not make a mis­take by elect­ing me. I am fit and I’m do­ing it very well.”

Only the ANC could re­move him from of­fice, he added.

Zuma also had to field tough ques­tions around his son Duduzane, who is seen as the proxy in his con­tro­ver­sial re­la­tion­ship with the Gup­tas, who are at the cen­tre of the state cap­ture saga.

Duduzane’s name has fea­tured promi­nently in the leaked Gupta emails de­tail­ing the ex­tent of the fam­ily’s in­flu­ence in the run­ning of gov­ern­ment af­fairs.

A vis­i­bly ir­ri­tated Zuma told op­po­si­tion MPs they were be­ing “un­fair” for ac­cus­ing his son of ben­e­fit­ing from his pres­i­dency.

“I have not heard that his busi­ness has ever ben­e­fited from gov­ern­ment, where Zuma has ben­e­fited… to say, give him some­thing.

“Never, I’ve never done that. He’s in­volved in busi­ness on his own ac­cord and there are cir­cum­stances why he had to go to busi­ness,” said Zuma, re­spond­ing to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

“There’s a sit­u­a­tion that has cre­ated unem­ploy­ment, it’s not cre­ated by Duduzane go­ing into busi­ness… you can’t sin­gle out one young per­son and vic­timise the per­son just be­cause he’s the son of the pres­i­dent. It’s not fair‚ it’s not cor­rect.”

THE ANC in KwaZulu-Na­tal, which is the big­gest prov­ince of the gov­ern­ing party by num­bers, has of­fi­cially en­dorsed for­mer African Union Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to be the next party pres­i­dent.

Ad­dress­ing eThek­wini’s ANC re­gional gen­eral coun­cil in Dur­ban yes­ter­day, Non­tem­beko Boyce, pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) mem­ber, threw her weight be­hind Dlamini Zuma.

KwaZulu-Na­tal is the first prov­ince to give Dlamini Zuma the nod. This was af­ter the North­ern Cape backed Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in De­cem­ber.

The ANC’s KZN re­gional gen­eral coun­cil was held to fi­nalise pol­icy is­sues they wanted sup­ported at the party’s pro­vin­cial gen­eral coun­cil this week­end at the Univer­sity of Zu­l­u­land.

As cus­to­di­ans of the ANC, branches would be vis­ited by the PEC to re­quest “com­rade Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to be re­leased to be the pres­i­dent”, said Boyce.

“As the prov­ince where Nkosazana is com­ing from we are re­leas­ing her be­cause we have seen that peo­ple are talk­ing about her,” said Boyce.

She said Dlamini Zuma had the ca­pac­ity to rise to the char­ac­ter of long­est-serv­ing ANC pres­i­dent Oliver Tambo.

“We said we want the type of lead­er­ship that is go­ing to turn around the sit­u­a­tion in the move­ment. We want a lead­er­ship that is go­ing to work ef­fec­tively to change the chal­lenges of the ANC to be the suc­cess sto­ries of the ANC.”

Dlamini Zuma has al­ready been en­dorsed by the ANC Women’s League, the Umkhonto We Sizwe Mil­i­tary Veter­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion and the ANC Youth League.

Last week, the AN­CYL had re­leased a list of other lead­ers it wanted to lead with Dlamini Zuma. They in­cluded Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza as deputy pres­i­dent, Free State premier Ace Ma­gashule as sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Arts and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa for na­tional chair­per­son, In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane as trea­surer-gen­eral and deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jessie Duarte, to re­tain her po­si­tion.

Dur­ing the eThek­wini RGC, the ANC, ANCWL and AN­CYL in the re­gion also called for eThek­wini branches not to make a mis­take by not sup­port­ing Dlamini Zuma.

ANC eThek­wini re­gional chair­per­son Zandile Gumede said the re­gion had not made up its mind about other peo­ple to serve in the top six, “but with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma we make no mis­take”.

In a veiled swipe at Dlamini Zuma’s con­tender, Ramaphosa, Gumede said: “You should not vote for the rich to lead our move­ment, be­cause even the Bi­ble said they will never see the king­dom of heaven.”

Ramaphosa en­joys sup­port from a dis­grun­tled group­ing aligned to for­mer premier Senzo Mchunu. The fac­tion has taken the cur­rent pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship to court over their elec­tion.

Gumede said the PGC should put on its agenda the is­sue of a me­dia tri­bunal to be de­bated at the party na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence in Johannesburg at the end of the month.

She added that the mat­ter had been left unim­ple­mented af­ter it had been “en­dorsed by pre­vi­ous pol­icy con­fer­ences”.

“In Polok­wane, we said Par­lia­ment must take a de­ci­sion on a me­dia tri­bunal and do away with self-reg­u­la­tion, but noth­ing has hap­pened. We went back to Man­gaung and made the same de­ci­sion, but still noth­ing has hap­pened.

“How­ever, Par­lia­ment was quick to set up an ad hoc com­mit­tee to deal with the SABC, which tells us that Par­lia­ment im­ple­ments cer­tain res­o­lu­tions and leave out oth­ers,” she said.

PIC­TURE: SIM­PHIWE MBOKAZI

VIC­TO­RI­OUS: UDM Leader Bantu Holomisa, Cope leader Mo­siuoa Lekota and mem­bers of op­po­si­tion par­ties ad­dress­ing the me­dia af­ter the Con­sti­tu­tional Court rul­ing on the mo­tion of no-con­fi­dence se­cret vote.

PIC­TURE: NIC BOTHMA / EPA

BOM­BARDED: Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma re­acts dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day. Pres­i­dent Zuma an­swered ques­tions re­lat­ing to poor gover­nance, ail­ing econ­omy, state cap­ture and cor­rup­tion within his gov­ern­ment, amidst grow­ing op­po­si­tion to his lack of lead­er­ship.

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