DA has overstepped itself
YESTERDAY, the DA’s bid to dissolve Parliament came under fire from all quarters, but particularly the other opposition parties in the house. The DA, hot on the heels of the unprecedented eighth no confidence motion in the president held by secret ballot on Tuesday night that the ANC only narrowly managed to defeat, mooted dissolving Parliament on a technicality.
In short, if the opposition parties were to resign en masse, this would take the National Assembly below the critical mass of 350 members needed to continue to operate, forcing a general election.
The problem is that the DA has failed to discuss this with other opposition parties, and merely chose to announce its plan.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, in particular, were scathing, noting that their caucus had approached the DA with exactly the same proposal earlier this year after the Constitutional Court found that Parliament had failed to execute its duties by holding the president to account over the taxpayer-funded renovations to his personal homestead at Nkandla – only for the DA to reject it out of hand.
The DA has now written to the Speaker’s office calling for a motion or a vote on this issue, saying Tuesday’s vote had shown that Jacob Zuma’s presidency is not supported by the majority of South Africans.
We believe differently. We believe, in fact, that the DA has overstepped itself and, in the process – as has become the norm in South African politics – stands the very real danger of undoing all the gains it might have made this week.
Tuesday’s vote was about the character of the president and his fitness for office, not the government.
Even so, and even with a free vote guaranteed by the secret ballot, the opposition parties and dissident members of the ruling party were unable to muster the simple majority needed to oust him.
Tuesday was a seismic moment for our democracy, but to move now for another vote – which the DA will not win – is just vanity.
If it feels this strongly, it should stop showboating and, as the EFF suggests, force its members to resign en masse.
Is it prepared, though, to put its money where its MPs’ mouths are?