National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete (top) speaks near South African President Jacob Zuma (down) during a session of questions to the president at the South African Parliament in Cape Town on November 23, 2016.
JOHANNESBURG – National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says she will consider opposition parties' requests for a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
Parliament is currently in recess and is scheduled to reconvene only on 3 May.
However, the two largest opposition parties in Parliament, the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters, have asked Mbete to convene a special sitting to have their motion debated and voted on by MPs before it is back in session.
The proposed motion of no confidence has been inspired by Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle last week, which claimed the scalps of the finance minister, his deputy and minister and deputies in other departments.
Mbete, who landed in Johannesburg on Sunday morning after cutting short a parliamentary business trip to Bangladesh, informed the media at OR Tambo International Airport that she would begin the consultation process regarding the motion of no confidence and ensure it was concluded as soon as possible.
“Given the seriousness inherent in the motions of no confidence and their implications for the nation, I have therefore decided to cut my working trip to Bangladesh to ensure that these requests are given their appropriate consideration in terms of the constitution and in terms of the clarification provided by the Constitutional Court in the Mazibuko v Sisulu [and Another (CCT 115/12)] matter as and when a motion of this magnitude is called and is in line with the rules,” said Mbete
“It must be scheduled and it must receive priority.
“I will therefore as of today begin a process of consultation, contemplated in the rules in the consideration of the request submitted.
“I envisage that the consultation should be concluded as soon as possible. Once the process is completed my office will write to all parties involved to advise them of the outcome,” said Mbete, who has been ANC national chairperson for the past decade.
The ANC has a majority of 249 seats in the National Assembly.
Zuma has easily survived previous motions of no confidence in him called by the opposition because of this majority.
Both the DA and EFF have revealed that they will be lobbying unhappy ANC MPs to vote with them this time.
Mbete ruled out the possibility of a secret ballot in Parliament should the motion of no confidence vote go ahead.
"The secret ballot is not part of what we do. It's not provided for in the rules. We simply just don't do secret ballot until one day maybe there is enough pressure from the MPs themselves, then we'd do that ..."