'Mbete is not fit to hold office'

A lawyer for three opposition parties says Baleka Mbete is to blame for Parliament descending into chaos.

National Assembly Speaker Beleka Mbete in Parliament. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A lawyer for three opposition parties has told the Western Cape High Court that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete is not a fit and proper person to hold office.

Agang SA, Congress of the People and the United Democratic Movement want an order declaring her unfit to hold the position of speaker.

They argue that her concurrent role as chairperson of the African National Congress and speaker impedes her ability to perform her function in Parliament objectively.

The applicants' counsel, Advocate Jan Heunis has told a full bench of the Western Cape High Court that this case is not an overly ambitious attempt to get rid of an office bearer.

Instead he argued, the case is a responsible attempt by opposition parties in Parliament to convince the courts to do what the majority party won't allow to happen.

He says this is that the speaker must go.

Heunis says Mbete is to blame for Parliament descending into chaos on several occasions because of her inability to be impartial and non-partisan.

The parties also want motions of no confidence in the President to be voted on by way of secret ballot.

PARTIES TABLE MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE

It started late last year when Agang tabled a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

When Mbete refused to recuse herself from a debate on the motion in parliament, the party turned to the courts to declare her unfit to hold office.

The party's parliamentary leader, Andries Tlouamma says he will table another motion of no confidence in the President after the court rules on the matter.