Early elections 'better for SA' if Zuma loses no-confidence vote - DA

2017-08-01 17:03
John Steenhuisen (File, Gallo Images)

John Steenhuisen (File, Gallo Images)

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WATCH: This is what happens if the motion of no confidence succeeds

2017-08-01 14:27

The vote in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be held in the National Assembly on August 8. What happens if the motion succeeds? Watch and find out. National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has yet to say whether the ballot will be secret or not. The Constitutional Court did not give her a date by which she had to make her decision known. WATCH

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance in Parliament says it would be better for the country to hold early elections if President Jacob Zuma is voted out of power during a motion of no confidence in his presidency.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen and deputy chief whip Mike Waters held a press conference on Tuesday outlining the party's plans for Parliament's short third term.

During a round of questions, Steenhuisen said that party leader Mmusi Maimane had been on record that the DA would prefer early elections if Zuma and his Cabinet were ousted on August 8.

"What South Africa has is not [just] a Jacob Zuma problem, it is an ANC problem," he said quoting Maimane.

Were the motion successful, "it would be better for the country to go to the polls and elect a new government through fresh elections."

Zuma's Cabinet would be forced to resign in the event that the motion is passed, and Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete would become president for 30 days.

Parliament would have to reconvene and elect a new president from among its members, who must then constitute a new Cabinet.

With regards to the idea of Mbete being interim president, Steenhuisen said: "Heaven help us."

'DA's vote is no secret'

Mbete has yet to say if the motion will be conducted via secret ballot.

Steenhuisen believed Mbete will delay announcing her decision as long as possible in order for the House to "descend into chaos" on the day, and cloud the issue of Zuma's presidency when voting.

A delay in making a decision, therefore, was reckless, he said.

The party was, in principle, against the idea of a secret ballot, except in the case of extenuating circumstances, where an individual member's safety was threatened.

"In the present motion, there is objective evidence that such extenuating circumstances do exist," he continued.

He referenced the recent death threats against ANC MP Makhosi Khoza, and ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu's "broadside" against fellow MP Mondli Gungubele, as examples of the party "threatening members' livelihood".

"For this specific motion, we support a secret ballot. Nevertheless, the DA's vote is no secret."

'SA is ripe and ready for change'

He also said that ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has a "criminal case to answer" for publicly threatening the jobs of MPs who voted against the party line.

The party believed Mantashe's comments have been in violation of the Powers, Immunities and Privileges Act.

Steenhuisen was confident that regardless of what happens next week, the opposition has been brought closer together by the ANC.

"I think the opposition has never been more united. The one thing the ANC has been successful in doing is uniting the opposition and civil society against them.

"I think South Africa is ripe and ready for change, no matter what the outcome of next week's debate.

"Post-2019, there will be a coalition in South Africa; it will be an ANC-led coalition or a DA-led coalition."

He said the opposition parties had shown they could achieve much by working together, and by advancing core principles, despite differing ideologies.

Read more on:    da  |  jackson mthembu  |  jacob zuma  |  john steenhuisen

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