Concourt to rule on Zuma debate

By Drum Digital
26 August 2013

The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment on Tuesday on an application for a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be debated in Parliament.

Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, supported by seven other opposition parties, tabled the motion on November 8.

However, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu later adjourned a programming committee meeting without the debate being scheduled, on the basis that no consensus had been reached.

The DA took the matter to the Western Cape High Court where it was dismissed by Judge Dennis Davis.

Davis ruled that it was any MP's right to request a no confidence debate, and that such requests were "by their very nature" urgent.

But, because the rules of the National Assembly did not make provision for no confidence debates, Davis could not tell Sisulu when and where the debate should be heard.

The high court held that Parliament had the obligation to give effect to the right to debate and vote on a motion of no confidence, but that only the Constitutional Court could hear this matter.

It was argued by Mazibuko's lawyer in the Constitutional Court in March that the high court erred in finding that the speaker did not have the power to schedule the motion in the event of a deadlock in the programme committee.

Mazibuko submitted that the National Assembly rules were inconsistent with the Constitution.

Sisulu submitted that the application be dismissed as the date for the scheduled debate had passed.

He also submitted that Parliament did not fail in its constitutional duties because the motion could be scheduled either by the programme committee or the National Assembly.

The National Assembly chief whip submitted that the application was based on factual and legal misconceptions.

-Sapa

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