ANC comes to Mbete's defence

Opposition parties say they will table a motion of no-confidence in Baleka Mbete tomorrow.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament has come out in defence of National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.

Five opposition parties have come together in a bid to unseat Mbete.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), United Democratic Front, Congress of the People and the Freedom Front Plus announced today they are backing a motion of no-confidence in Mbete.

The motion will be tabled in the National Assembly tomorrow afternoon.The five parties say Mbete cannot serve Parliament as she should because as a high ranking ANC official, she has to look after the party's interests at the same time.

If it comes to a vote, the opposition parties will be outnumbered by ANC Members of Parliament (MPs), who hold 62 percent of the seats.

EFF leader Julius Malema said the move is also about sending a message.

"We won't be controlled by the ANC, whether we lose this or not, we will put it on record for South Africans to know we've rejected the mediocrity and we'll continue to challenge it."

DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said, "She must, we believe, vacate her position in the interest of making sure Parliament functions well and that our democracy is maintained."

But the ruling party's Moloto Mothapo has dismissed the plan as a laughable publicity gimmick.

"There is no basis to their allegations because she has always made her rulings with fairness."

At the same time, ANC MP Cedric Frolick was yesterday elected the chairperson of Parliament's ad-hoc committee on Nkandla.

Opposition parties refused to elect a chair when the committee first met last month, saying they first wanted clarity on its mandate.

Opposition MPs did not nominate an alternative chairperson and Frolick was elected unopposed.

A date for the next meeting has yet to be set, but the battle lines are already drawn over whether or not President Jacob Zuma will be called before the committee.

The committee has to report back to Parliament by 24 October.

An earlier committee was disbanded ahead of the May elections.