Motion of no-confidence in Mbete rejected

The motion was rejected this evening by 234 votes to zero following a walkout by the opposition.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - The motion of no-confidence in National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has been rejected following a walkout by the opposition a short while ago.

The motion was rejected this evening by 234 votes to zero.

The motion was brought by five opposition parties - the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) , Congress of the People, United Democratic Movement and the Freedom Front Plus - who claim that the Speaker cannot act impartiality while also serving as ANC chairperson.

The DA's John Steenhuisen said the African National Congress (ANC) tried to change the motion of no-confidence.

"By perverting the motion before us today, the ANC has perverted the course of democracy."

EFF leader Julius Malema explained, "We think the chief whip has completely raised a new motion which requires a different platform to be engaged."

Shortly after Malema's comments, the collective opposition left the house.

Cedric Frolick, who was presiding over proceedings, was then left with no choice but to call a vote which was unanimous to keep Mbete.

SPARKS FLY IN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Shortly before the vote, there was ferocious mudslinging with Members of Parliament (MPs) launching scathing personal attacks on one another.

Malema was told "he is nothing", opposition MPs being accused of sexism and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete being labelled a player for the ANC.

The ruling party's Bertha Mabe launched a series of attacks against the opposition, starting with Malema who reacted angrily.

Mabe then turned her attention to the DA's Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane.

"Maimane must always remember as he tries so hard to justify his existence and acceptance in a white, male dominated party while undermining the good that the ANC has done for him."

With ANC supporters in the public gallery and MPs quick to rise to their feet on points of order, presiding officers have been battling to keep order.

"Honourable member, the point you are raising is not a point of order, take your seat."

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula launched into the EFF, prompting more objections.

"None of its leaders are contested, none of them are experienced, and none of them have a history of struggle and selflessness."

He left no stone unturned as he attacked the DA.

"What gives these losers and hypocrites the audacity to question the ANC's deployment policy?"

Steenhuisen replied.

"He used a lot of highfalutin English here today, there is some speculation about his matric results but I don't want to get into that but I remember something from matric, and that was Macbeth who said something about a 'tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing'."

Earlier, Maimane fired the opening salvoes in the fiery debate.

Maimane said Mbete is merely helping President Jacob Zuma cover up for the spending on upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

"Mbete has been deployed to make sure Zuma doesn't have to answer tough questions in this Parliament."

He also told the National Assembly that Mbete is placing the ANC before South Africa.

He said the Speaker has sold out Parliament to her masters in Luthuli House and warned against South Africa becoming another Lesotho.

The EFF attempted to interject but party leader Malema was warned to be quiet.

He was angry in his response.

"We are not going to be told how to behave instead of you calling those people to order because they are showing signs of intimidation, they are even intimidating us."