Mbete 'consulting with all stakeholders' over opposition parties' demands

On Monday, her office said in a statement that she was consulting ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise (left) and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete (right) at a media briefing on the 2018 State of the Nation Address. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete is expected back in her office on Tuesday morning after attending Monday’s marathon African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.

It’s unclear when Mbete will respond to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) demand that its motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma be debated this week, instead of 22 February, the date she initially set.

On Monday, her office said in a statement that she was consulting ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, as leader of government business, as required by the rules of the National Assembly.

Opposition parties have, meanwhile, written to both Mbete and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise, informing them of their intention to move for the dissolution of Parliament, which if successful, will trigger early elections.

The EFF’s Julius Malema issued the ultimatum on Monday after opposition party leaders met yesterday at Parliament.

“Ten o’clock … if Baleka has not responded, the EFF is going to launch an urgent application in court because we are in a crisis.”

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says Mbete has responded to the red berets.

“No, the Speaker has responded yesterday to say that she is considering the matter and she’s consulting with all stakeholders.”

Opposition parties want the motion of no confidence debated and voted on and then, at the same sitting, they plan to move that the National Assembly be dissolved.

Like the no confidence motion, this needs a simple majority of 201 of the 400 MPs to pass. If it succeeds, elections must be held within 90 days. But that will require the backing of at least 50 ANC MPs, assuming all opposition MPs vote in favour of it.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)