CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties are plotting their next move after attempts to debate a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma was scuppered by the ANC.
Eight opposition parties tabled the motion last week.
The parties include the Democratic Alliance (DA), Congress of the People (Cope) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
They claim Zuma has failed to show leadership in a number of respects.
The parties believe the justice system has been weakened and corruption is spiralling out of control under Zuma's leadership.
On Thursday, Parliament's programming committee was unable to schedule the issue for debate because the ruling party would not agree to it.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)’s Mario Oriani-Ambrosini raised the issue in the National Assembly, where the president was answering questions.
“What is the difference between preventing the holding of elections and preventing a vote of no confidence, which is a Constitutional power of the opposition of each member of this house.”
Zuma said he would not get involved in Parliamentary matters.
“I am not a member of Parliament and I did not participate in the processes of this Parliament. I have heard that there was an issue raised and members of this house are dealing with the issue as they would want to deal with it. There are procedure [when it comes to] the manner in which these matters are raised.”
Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Pierre De Vos said opposition parties could take the issue to court.
“The ANC has obviously decided that it will be too damaging for the president to have this debate, and so they are protecting him. That decision, I think, is very much challengeable in court. But it would take a lot of money and time for it to be challenged in court.”
ZUMA DISCUSSES NKANDLA
Zuma explained to MPs that renovations to his Nkandla home started without government’s knowledge.
Once the state learned of the refurbishments, which he emphasised his family is paying for, Zuma claimed the Public Works Ministry insisted it get involved.
“Government insisted, from a security point of view.”
At one stage, Zuma appeared annoyed by heckling from the opposition benches.
“I think you must respect me,” he told Parliamentarians.
Opposition parties were not satisfied with his explanation.
DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said, “His air conditioning system, is that a security enhancement?”
The president said allegations relating to the issue are unfair.
(Edited by Tamsin Wort)