Mbete agrees to Zuma 'no confidence' debate

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Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete during a debate on security upgrades at Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead on August 19, 2014 in Cape Town.

PARLIAMENT - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has agreed to a Democratic Alliance request to schedule a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

Mbete, in a letter to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, said the motion would be published in the first available order paper of the year and that she was consulting with the leader of government business, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the chief whip of the ANC so as to schedule a debate “within a reasonable period given the programme of the Assembly”.

Maimane said he requested the debate in the light of Zuma’s “reckless” decision to fire Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister in December.

He said the debate had been given greater urgency still by Zuma’s comments in an interview on Sunday that the outcry over Nene’s sacking and the financial markets’ reaction had been exaggerated.

“This blatant denialism is an insult to every South African who has felt, and will continue to feel, the damaging effects the president’s decision had on our economy. Instead of taking responsibility for his poor decision, President Zuma is shirking it.

“President Zuma’s leadership on the economy is non-existent, and he is incapable of leading us out of the crisis of low growth and high unemployment that we face. The reality is without a strong and growing economy, jobs cannot be created for the millions of South Africans who simply cannot find work,” Maimane said.

In September, a DA motion to have Zuma impeached over the government’s failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in accordance with an International Criminal Court warrant fell flat as the opposition failed to close ranks.