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Mbete reschedules EFF's motion of no confidence in President Zuma to Thursday

The Speaker’s decision was made after consultation with the leader of government business and the chief whip of the ANC.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has sent a letter to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Leader Julius Malema informing him that she has decided to reschedule the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma for Thursday 15 February at 2pm.

A statement issued by Parliament says that the Speaker’s decision was made after consultation with the leader of government business and the chief whip of the ANC and is subject to the National Assembly’s Programme Committee agreeing to the scheduling of a sitting for 15 February 2018.

A special meeting of the Programme Committee is being scheduled for 3pm today to deliberate on the matter.

With regard to the EFF request of 3 February 2018 for the vote on the motion to be conducted by means of secret ballot, Mbete said she had determined that voting would be by open ballot.

Section 57 of the Constitution, 1996, directs the National Assembly to conduct its business, among others, with due regard to representative and participatory democracy, accountability and transparency.

Mbete said in her letter that she believed that this decision strengthens Parliament’s efficiency in its oversight of the executive.

The ANC announced earlier on Wednesday that its MPs will vote with opposition parties in a motion of no confidence against Zuma at Parliament on Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, the African National Congress (ANC) laid out its plan to remove President Zuma from office, should he fail to resign.

ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile said: “It’s very clear that for us, as the ANC, we can no longer wait beyond Wednesday. We don’t want to keep South Africa waiting.”

The party’s chief whip Jackson Mthembu says if Zuma stands firm, the opposition’s motion of no confidence will be amended to include the governing party’s reasons for removing him.

He says the party then hopes to elect a new president by Thursday or Friday.

“We’ve approached them [opposition] because ideally, it would have been nice of them to withdraw their motion. But they’ve refused, and that’s why we’re sitting with the next available option to the ANC, which is to amend that motion but not the substance.”

BUDGET DAY

With budget day a week away, the question now is who will deliver it?

Ramaphosa is set to become the country’s new president as soon as Thursday.

Mthembu has promised the Budget will go ahead as planned.

“We wouldn’t want to disturb any matters of the Budget.”

But Mthembu has noted that a motion of no confidence ousting Zuma means his entire Cabinet will go with him.

“Then it’s a different ball game altogether.”

That would open the way for Ramaphosa to reshuffle his Cabinet, putting a question mark over whether Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will deliver the Budget speech next week.

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