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Judgment reserved in Zuma motion bid

2012-11-20 19:48

Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court reserved judgment on Tuesday on an urgent application to force a parliamentary debate on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

Judge Dennis Davis said he would first wait for the outcome of a National Assembly debate on Wednesday, which would decide whether to hold the debate.

"I'm not going to make this judgment in three minutes. It's ridiculous to put such pressure on judges for matters of this importance," he said.

"Judges are not just slot machines where you put something in and get something out... At most, judgment is going to be out on Thursday."

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko gave notice of the motion in the Assembly on 8 November.

The motion was brought on the grounds "that under his [Zuma's] leadership the justice system has been politicised and weakened; corruption has spiralled out of control; unemployment continues to increase, the economy is weakening, and the right of access to quality education has been violated".

The motion was "mandated" by eight opposition parties, including the African Christian Democratic Party, the Azanian People's Organisation, the Congress of the People, the Freedom Front Plus, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Christian Democratic Party, and the United Democratic Front.

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga described the motion as frivolous and without foundation.

The motion came before National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, who adjourned the programming committee meeting without the debate being scheduled on the basis that no consensus had been reached.

Mazibuko filed an urgent application on behalf of all opposition parties on Friday to force Sisulu to schedule a debate and vote before Parliament goes into recess.

The application was brought on the basis that Sisulu, as presiding officer of the programming committee, had the power in terms of National Assembly rules to give a ruling in case of "unforeseen eventualities".

The applicants' lawyer Anton Katz said the motion would lapse if was not scheduled for debate by Thursday.

He argued that the programming committee was using an impasse as a reason to hide from important national issues.

"Everyone in this room knows they [the ANC] don't want to debate it and it's not about time in this instance.

"These [issues] are not things we make up... Peoples' representatives have lost faith in the president. This debate needs to take precedence over other debates."

Sisulu and Motshekga are opposing the application.

Jumped the gun

Lawyer Jan Heunis said his client Sisulu's hands were tied and that the DA had jumped the gun by not allowing parliamentary processes to run their course.

He said the opposition parties could not hinge their application on the constitutionality of parliamentary processes, but only on the outcome of such processes, which had yet to be revealed.

The Constitutional Court was the only applicable avenue in this respect.

Davis questioned the constitutionality of such parliamentary processes, as explained by Heunis.

He said it did not seem right that the fate of a minority party motion could be decided by the National Assembly, when it was made up largely of majority party members.

"It can't possibly be that the majority can simply say: 'Sorry, we can't debate this.'"

Nazeer Cassim, for Motshekga, asked the court to have faith in the majority party.

"You should not make the assumption that the majority party will always do the wrong thing," he said.

"If the majority party does do the wrong thing [by not scheduling the debate], that's where the ConCourt comes in."

The expected judgment will be delivered on the last day the National Assembly sits.

Katz read out the programme for Thursday, and suggested that the debate could be heard instead of the "farewell speech", to which 75 minutes was allocated.

Comments
  • ronald.stilianou - 2012-11-20 20:01

    I think Zuma is sweating bullets right now....he might still pull a sneaky by not showing up or playing sick or something to that effect but the debate is going to take place in the end and he will get exactly what he gave Mbeki plus more. "Revenge is a dish best served cold" is probably a phrase that is playing over and over in Thabo's head. ( and if I was him I'd b loving it)

      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-20 21:23

      I've started a petition supporting SA's opposition parties' motion of no confidence in Pres Zuma. Please take the time to sign and share this. Thank you. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/372/889/450/sa-taxpayers-support-opposition-parties-motion-of-no-confidence-in-president-zuma/

  • John.Yossarian22 - 2012-11-20 20:06

    Sounds like the judge doesn't want to do his job. Hope I'm wrong.

      godfrey.welman - 2012-11-20 22:40

      Like he runs the "Judge For Yourself" show on eNCA, very weary in questioning Govt/Cosatu cadres on that show.

  • debduplessis - 2012-11-20 20:06

    Yip... A conspiracy - there is almost 4 years proven track history & record to draw from to make a decision!

      ld.vanvuuren - 2012-11-20 20:33

      I think he right. This could have serious implications and we must give him time to think about all the consequences (and hope he sees them all). Not that I am at all against forcing then issue - Zuma must go. He is a liability to our Country.

      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-20 21:32

      I've started a petition supporting SA's opposition parties' motion of no confidence in Pres Zuma. Please take the time to sign and share this. Thank you. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/372/889/450/sa-taxpayers-support-opposition-parties-motion-of-no-confidence-in-president-zuma/

  • Proffesa Sibanda - 2012-11-20 20:23

    .

      asdhasgd - 2012-11-20 20:56

      well said.

  • dewald.smit - 2012-11-20 20:33

    Lol, "A conspiracy" you say? Just because the judge wants all the info before he makes a decision? Sounds to me like he is doing his job very well. @John

      dewald.smit - 2012-11-20 20:36

      "Judge Dennis Davis said he would first wait for the outcome of a National Assembly debate on Wednesday, which would decide whether to hold the debate." You cant decide to buy a car if you and the wife have not talked about it? If you can, then I feel very sorry for your wife.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-11-21 07:46

      @ dewald..........lol! I like that judge, I like his education, experience and I sure he is not scared of 'them'....lets see

  • michael.bushes.9 - 2012-11-20 20:46

    Zuma might actually be good for south africa, the longer he remains head of the ANC and the land, the more chance of an even bigger part of the ANC breaking away. If his supporters allow him to fool them once, shame on him, if they allow him to fool them twice, shame on them, give the man enough rope, and eventually he will hang himself and the more sane part of the ANC will breakaway to form a coalition with the DA.

      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-20 21:26

      And in the meantime we're losing money and resources that can never be recouped. The DA calculates that if the current ANC government stops ruling today, it will take us 30 years to repair the harm that's been done.

  • GenIuSouL - 2012-11-20 20:54

    Stuff the voiceinthedesert,the DA cannot rush judicial processes. What Judge Davis is saying in essence is that the DA cannot politicise the judicial system and thus nullifying the claim made by DA that the Honourable President has politicised the said system to subsequent weakness.

      dewald.smit - 2012-11-20 22:04

      Exactly what he is doing, saving the DA from getting egg on their faces.

      kent.paulsen.79 - 2012-11-21 09:27

      No Honourable Presidesnt in South Africa

  • Fhedzani Sadiki - 2012-11-20 20:57

    all this for a debate? the anc will never remove Zuma anyway...waste of time and money...

      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-20 21:27

      It's not just up to the ANC. The citizens of SA - especially the taxpayers - are fed up and the time is overdue for change to come.

      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-20 21:31

      And speaking of wasting time and money... that's all this government can lay claim to excelling at.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-11-21 05:22

    I VOTE FOR NO CONFIDENCE!!! THIS MAN IS A FILTHY PIG WHO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-21 07:15

    Max Sisulu and lawyers - in the words of Judge Davis "matters of this importance" so DO NOT TRY TO OBFUSCATE AND RELEGATE SUCH AN IMPORTANT MATTER TO JUST THE FINAL 75 MINUTES OF THE YEAR AND AS BEING OF TRIVIAL IRRITATION. MORE THAN 66% OF SA DO NOT WANT ZUMA AND ARE TIRED OF BEING HELD TO RANSOM BY A SMALL STRANGLEHOLD OF 4500 VITRIOLIC CRIMINALS. ZUMA MUST GO

      beverly.young3 - 2012-11-21 07:49

      sjoe, you tell 'em.....

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-21 09:11

    Mathole Motshekga, Angie's husband. You know the one that can't deliver school books to Limpopo. So what can one expect from him?.

      jakobus.thulasizwe - 2012-11-22 08:00

      Motsekga wants to secure the position of his wife. If S.A. was not a banana republic Angie would have been showed the door.

  • morris.khunou - 2012-11-21 13:47

    Another failer! A waste of time and resources worth not celebrating!

  • simthembile.lizwi - 2012-11-21 14:48

    There is just too much ignorance with the comments here..... If the so called educated can be this ignorant how much more with the illiterate... And yet these people have all the resources to inform themselves ( they are not from textbookless Limpopo)

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