Motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa to be postponed

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa

  • The ATM has asked National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to postpone its motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • This is because the party's court application to force Modise to have the motion voted on by secret ballot will only be heard in February.
  • The ANC has rejected the motion, calling it frivolous, just like DA has.

The ATM has asked that a motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa be postponed.

This, after the party lodged a court application to review a decision by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise that voting should be done by open ballot. The ATM insists that it should be done by secret ballot.

After the ATM lodged the motion in February this year, it asked Modise to allow voting by secret ballot.

But she declined, saying that they didn't provide evidence of "a highly charged atmosphere, intimidation of any member or any demonstrable evidence of threats against the lives of members and their families, which may warrant a secret ballot". She also referred to the constitutional imperative of transparency.

After the motion was scheduled last week, ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula asked Modise to reconsider. Again she declined, also noting the logistics of the hybrid virtual sittings due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And so, the ATM headed to the Western Cape High Court.

"The MPs' faithfulness can best be, in my opinion, achieved when testing their personal conscience rather than when the MPs act on the mandate of his or her party," the ATM's leader stated in an affidavit.

The parties agreed in chambers to postpone the matter to 3 and 4 February next year.

ATM spokesperson Sibusiso Mncwabe said the application would be heard before a full Bench.

He added that the parties agreed that the motion would be postponed until the court case was finalised.

Shortly after the court proceedings, Zungula wrote to Modise and requested that the motion be postponed.

"The basis of asking for postponement is that ATM has launched proceedings before the Western Cape High Court under case number 17989 of 2020, wherein ATM seeks the court to review and set aside the decision by the speaker to decline a vote by secret ballot," he wrote.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo confirmed in a statement that Modise had received the letter and said she would react to it in due course.

The motion is the first one lodged against Ramaphosa since he was elected president by the National Assembly in February 2018.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Mncwabe said South Africa "needs to be saved from the non-existent leadership of Ramaphosa".

"In total contrast to his election promise, the man has been nothing but a champion of malfeasance."

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement the party noted that the ATM asked for a postponement of the motion and added that by insisting on a secret ballot, they were "displaying their fear of their irrelevance".

"It is regrettable that instead of focusing the attention of Parliament to real issues that will advance the aspirations of the people of South Africa,  ATM has chosen to waste Parliament's time by proposing a motion they know stands no chance of succeeding. There is simply no basis for the motion and [it] is quite frivolous.

"It is indeed a testimony to the strength of our democracy that a two-MP party in our proportional representation system can get their voice heard. It is a pity, however, that they chose to squander this opportunity in this manner. We are confident that the ANC MPs who will debate the motion, will represent us well."

He said the ANC's confidence and "the confidence of the people" in Ramaphosa's leadership remained unwavering.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone also noted the court application and the postponement request.

"The DA holds the view that this motion by the African Transformation Movement is nothing more than a frivolous internal ANC factional battle playing itself out on the floor of Parliament," she said in a statement.

"The matter of the secret ballot is now between the ATM and the Zuma/Magashule faction; the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Western Cape Division of the High Court.

"While we respect any party's right to move a motion of no conference, we fought hard for those processes to be flexible, accessible and practical.

"The ATM's motion, however, is a waste of Parliament's programme, which needs to urgently consider and deliberate on the various budgets of departments and entities tabled before it."

She said the DA would abstain from the vote even when it comes to Parliament next year.

"Abstaining is by no means a vote in support of President Ramaphosa. It is instead our refusal to be drawn into a messy battle brewing in the ANC. We will continue to hold the president and his government to account using parliamentary and legal processes."

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