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Mbete: Parliament will demonstrate decisive leadership

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete confirmed she’s considering calling Parliament back early while opposition appears to be growing over President Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete is now consulting with party leaders about a possible early vote of confidence in President Jacob Zuma while the African National Congress (ANC)’s National Working Committee is meeting on Monday and Congress of South African Trade Union’s Central Executive Committee is set to specifically discuss Zuma's removal of Pravin Gordhan from the Finance Ministry.

The weekend saw Mbete confirming that she’s considering calling Parliament back early while opposition appears to be growing to Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle.

On Thursday night, Zuma removed Gordhan and made 10 changes to his ministers.

Over the weekend, the South African Communist Party said Zuma must resign, with ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize joined Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe in criticising the reshuffle.

Mbete was forced to cut her Bangladesh trip to come address the matter.

She says she will be consulting with opposition parties who want Parliament recalled for a vote on whether Zuma should stay in office.

“I, therefore, assure South Africans that this legislative arm of the state must and will rise to the occasion.”

Baleka Mbete assured South Africans that Parliament will demonstrate decisive leadership.

“Our people are looking to Parliament to play its part and exercise its constitutional responsibility.”

Parliament will now assess the request to ascertain if it's compliant with appropriate rules and will consult the chief whip of the ANC and leader of government business deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“As and when a motion of this magnitude is called and is in line with the rules, it must be scheduled and must receive priority.”

Mbete says the consultations are expected to start on Tuesday.

WATCH: Mbete: Parliament takes motion against Zuma seriously

ZUMA UNFAZED BY CRITICS

Mbete has also criticised members of the ANC’s top six who have spoken out in public against this reshuffle.

Meanwhile, also over the weekend Zuma was in Pietermaritzburg where it appears the leader of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikilalala gave him his support.

The audience here seemed unfazed by Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle and instead sang his praises after launching the biggest housing project in the country.

Analysts have often commented on how the president usually goes to his home province when facing political challenges.

But Zikalala, who was speaking in his capacity as acting KwaZulu-Natal premier, says leaders must know that their tenure is never everlasting.

The president was joined by Mkhize, who had earlier released a statement saying the unorthodox manner in which Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet did not afford the top six the chance to give their input, which indicates that the party is no longer the political centre.

ZWELI MKHIZE NOT HAPPY

Mkhize says he’s concerned about the process followed and the manner in which this Cabinet reshuffle was done.

He says this consultation process is to allow the leadership to take collective responsibility for decisions that are made.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa also has concerns.

“My strong objection to the removal of the Minister of Finance and his deputy is being based on spurious allegations.”

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says he feels uncomfortable about these developments.

“We were given a list that was complete, this list has been developed somewhere else.”

The reshuffle has sparked a face-off between half of the ANC’s top six and Zuma who have distanced themselves from his choices and the revolt may intensify this week with a number of demonstrations planned.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)