Opposition demands dissolution of Parliament and early elections

The parties say the EFF’s motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma must be debated this week.

Leaders of opposition parties brief the media on the upcoming motion of no confidence in Jacob Zuma, the postponed Sona, the state of Parliament and a possible national shutdown. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition party leaders say they want Parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections held before a new president of the country is elected.

They say the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma must be debated this week.

After that they want the National Assembly to vote on a resolution in terms of Section 50 (1) of the Constitution that allows for the dissolution of the National Assembly.

EFF leader Julius Malema says National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has until Tuesday morning to respond to the party’s request that its no-confidence motion be brought forward from 22 February, or they will go to court.

“The motion of no confidence must take place this week. Baleka has not responded to the EFF letter about bringing forward the motion of no confidence. If Baleka has not responded by tomorrow at 10 am, the EFF is going to launch an urgent application in court because we’re in crisis.”

In a statement this afternoon, Parliament says Mbete has responded to the EFF's demand for its motion of no confidence to be scheduled for Tuesday, but says she is consulting - as required by the rules - with ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa as Leader of Government Business.

However, this was in response to a letter sent by the EFF last week.

Malema says the current problem facing the nation is neither Zuma nor his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.

He says the problem is the ANC, and the people of South Africa must be given a chance to vote for their next leader.

The EFF leader adds: “Once we remove Zuma, Parliament must be dissolved. The Constitutional Court made a ruling that Parliament failed to discharge its responsibility when it couldn’t protect the Public Protector, including holding the president accountable.”

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says they're calling for early elections because the ruling party is holding the country to ransom.

“With factional battles and after the Constitutional Court findings on Parliament, we must proceed and put the next president in place.”

Maimane says the uncertain environment is untenable for South Africans.

“We have a party that’s in crisis and has put the whole country in crisis. That is what is happening now. We don’t know who is going to table the budget next week, we don’t know if it will come from one faction or another. These debates cannot be settled in the NEC.”

Congress of the People’s Mosiuoa Lekota says they want an early election.

“As we speak, the whole of the National Assembly was found to have failed to uphold its oath of office. So all of those people in there must get out. South Africans must get the chance to elect new men and women.”

At the same time, African Christian Democratic Party leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe says this is not about just Zuma.

“As a collective, we’re saying the man (Zuma) is not the only problem. The proof is that with all the motions of no confidence and having stated why we want President Jacob Zuma to step down, the ANC Members of Parliament defended and protected him.”