‘Mbete cannot serve Parliament as she should’

Five opposition parties say they will table a motion of no-confidence in Mbete tomorrow.

Opposition Members of Parliament speak to the media on National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Gaye Daivs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Five opposition parties have come together in a bid to unseat National Assembly Speaker Baleka 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 African National Congress (ANC) official, she has to look after the party's interests at the same time.

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."

The ANC's majority gives the motion scant chance of succeeding, but it will send a strong message.

EFF leader Julius Malema said, "We don't belong to the Parliament of the ANC. We belong to the Parliament of the republic of South Africa.

The parties are trying to gather the support of other Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as members of the ANC.

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.