Motions of no confidence in Ramaphosa, Cabinet to be heard on Wednesday afternoon

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa faces his first motion of no confidence.
  • The Speaker allowed roll-call voting for the DA's motion of no confidence in Cabinet.
  • The ATM won't participate in its own motion.

After all the political machinations of the previous days, the motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa and the motion of no confidence in his Cabinet are to go ahead on Wednesday afternoon.

It will be the first motion of no confidence that Ramaphosa faces, and it has been a long time coming.

The ATM first lodged the motion with the office of the Speaker in early 2020.

A pandemic and a protracted court battle over whether it should be voted on by secret ballot have delayed it being heard. And now, the ATM won't participate in its own motion.

While the ATM's last-ditch attempt to postpone its own motion didn't get the green light from National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, she did accede to one of the DA's requests.

Last week, she shot down the DA's request to have its motion of no confidence in Cabinet voted on by secret ballot.

On Saturday, DA leader John Steenhuisen wrote to Mapisa-Nqakula to ask that ministers, who are MPs, not be allowed to vote in the motion and that the voting is done by roll-call, where each MP's name is read and they answer "yes" or "no".

Mapisa-Nqakula on Monday said no to the first request, as ministers who are MPs are required to account, participate and vote in matters of the National Assembly that might impact their political offices directly, and there is no provision in the Constitution excluding members of Cabinet from voting in a section 102(1) motion.

However, on Tuesday, she agreed to the roll-call voting procedure.

"According to the rules on virtual sittings, members are entitled to cast their votes either electronically, by voice or by having their votes recorded by their respective whips," reads a statement for Parliament.

"In this regard, the Speaker has confirmed that a manual roll-call voting procedure will be used for the voting on the motion. This will entail the question being put for a decision of the House, followed by the secretary calling each member, and each member voicing either "yes" or "no" on the question."

READ | Speaker declines ATM's request to postpone motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa

After the urgent application to review Mapisa-Nqakula's decision that voting would be open on the motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa, the ATM asked Mapisa-Nqakula to postpone this motion.

She refused earlier on Tuesday, saying she didn't have the power to postpone motions; it resided with the National Assembly Programming Committee.

She also referred the ATM to Rule 90, that provides, among others, that no member may anticipate the discussion of a matter appearing on an order paper or agreed upon by the Programme Committee for scheduling.

"In this regard, the implication of the ATM's motion is that it will remain on the Order Paper, thereby blocking other similar motions. The Speaker has a duty to protect the rights of other parties to move motions of no confidence in the president," reads the statement.

She said Rule 128 allows the withdrawal and resubmission of a motion, ensuring no other party or member will be prejudiced by a motion remaining in an order paper for an undetermined period.

READ | A motion of no confidence in Cabinet. Does it make any sense?

She gave the ATM until 15:00 on Tuesday to indicate its decision on whether to withdraw the motion.

"The Speaker has since received a belated response from the ATM declining to withdraw its motion instead of postponing it. The motion will therefore remain on tomorrow's [Wednesday] agenda of the house as scheduled by the National Assembly's Programme Committee," reads a later statement from Parliament.

ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula tweeted his response to Mapisa-Nqakula, in which he stood by his previous contention that the matter was sub judice. He rejected the suggestion to withdraw the motion, but said the ATM would not participate "in this unlawful conduct".

The hybrid sitting is scheduled to start at 14:00.

The DA indicated that it would picket outside Parliament in the morning.

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