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'Push Zuma no confidence motion forward or we go to court'

The EFF, along with other opposition parties, says South Africans should have the choice of electing a new president and shouldn't be held to ransom by the ANC.

YouTube screengrab of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema in Parliament.

CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is threatening court action against National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete if she doesn't respond to their demand by Tuesday.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has already set 22 February as the date for the motion of no confidence to be debated but the EFF wants it brought forward to this week.

Public Law associate professor at the University of Cape Town Cathy Powell says she does not believe that Mbete has been unreasonable in setting a date for the motion.

“I don't think that the case law is specific enough to allow for a period of less than a month to be considered unreasonable.

“The constitutional court has held that the Speaker cannot frustrate the bringing of a motion of no confidence. In other words, she has to bring it within a reasonable time, but I cannot say that the date of 22 February is unreasonable.”

Powell says she also doesn't believe that by law, opposition parties will be able to insist that a motion for the dissolution of Parliament, be tabled as soon as next week.

The EFF, along with other opposition parties, says South Africans should have the choice of electing a new president and shouldn't be held to ransom by a ruling party embroiled in factional battles.

EFF leader Julius Malema said: “Once we remove Zuma, Parliament must be resolved. Because 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.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has echoed Malema's sentiments on early elections.

“Its factional battles and naturally we simply can’t say after the Constitutional Court found [ruled] against Parliament that we must just simply proceed from one ANC who’s put a delinquent president in place to say let’s put the next one.”

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

“We are saying at the collective the problem is not the man only. And the proof is that with all the motions of no confidence, having stated the reasons why we wanted President Zuma to should step down, the Members of Parliament defended him. They protected him."

MBETE 'CONSULTING' ON EFF'S REQUEST

Mbete, meanwhile, says she is still consulting over the EFF’s request to have its motion of no confidence in President Zuma brought forward.

The red berets last week asked that the motion be debated and voted on Tuesday.

But that’s changed since Monday’s meeting of opposition party leaders.

At the same sitting, the opposition parties also want to move for the dissolution of Parliament in terms of Section 50 (1) of the Constitution.

Speaker Mbete has written to the EFF leader and the party’s lawyers, saying she is required by the rules to consult with ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of government business.

Eyewitness News understands that Mbete is currently in Pretoria, attending the ANC’s national executive committee meeting.