Instead of celebrating the fact that Speaker of Parliament Thandi Modise has granted that a motion of no confidence against President Cyril Ramaphosa be heard next week, the African Transformation Movement (ATM) – which tabled the motion in February – is now accusing Parliament of doing all in its power to ensure a positive outcome for the president.
Secretary to the National Assembly Masibulele Xaso told a meeting of the assembly’s programming committee on Thursday that Modise had approved the ATM’s request for the House to debate the motion on December 3. However, the ATM is infuriated by the fact that the speaker did not communicate this directly with it, as the party that tabled the motion.
“We have seen this on social media platforms and other news outlets that the speaker has agreed to the motion going ahead. What is deeply disappointing is the fact that the speaker did not come back to us as the party that lodged the motion with her and indicate the nitty gritties, such as when the motion will be sitting and whether it will be a secret or open ballot,” said ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula.
He said it was clear that Modise was “trying to ambush our party”, adding that the announcement had given the ATM little time to canvass support for its bid to remove Ramaphosa.
“There has been no communication regarding whether it will be a secret ballot or not, and this is a serious hindrance. If she [Modise] were to indicate to us that it was not a secret ballot or not then we would plan accordingly and would even challenge this,” said Zungula, adding that “in the past, Ramaphosa has been known for paying individuals”, which makes their bid to oust him all the more difficult.
He said that should the ballot not be made secret then the chances of the ATM getting a two-thirds majority were slim.
“We have spoken to some Members of Parliament from different parties and they have openly indicated that they would not vote in favour of the motion of no confidence as there are financial benefits given to their parties for their support for Ramaphosa. They, however, indicated that should the ballot be secret then they would vote against him,” said Zungula.
The ATM submitted the motion in February, but all parliamentary matters have been delayed due to the lockdown.
It will be the first time that MPs will debate Ramaphosa’s fitness to hold the highest office in the land since his election in February 2018.