Application for Zuma debate to be heard

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IOL pic sep27 jacob zuma Independent Newspapers File photo of President Jacob Zuma. Photo: Neil Baynes

The Constitutional Court has agreed to hear an application for a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be debated in Parliament, the DA said on Friday.

“The Constitutional Court has agreed to hear my application on the ANC’s attempts to delay the debate on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, as well as the Speaker’s failure to break the political deadlock and schedule the debate,” Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said in a statement.

The application would be heard on March 28, 2013.

Mazibuko said the court had ordered National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu to file a report on March 14, on progress achieved in ensuring that motions of no confidence were appropriately provided for in the National Assembly's rules.

Mazibuko, supported by seven other opposition parties, tabled the motion on November 8. However Sisulu later adjourned a programming committee meeting without the debate being scheduled, on the basis that no consensus had been reached.

The National Assembly has subsequently held its last scheduled sitting for 2012.

On Friday, Mazibuko said while her party was disappointed that the application would not be heard before the end of the year, it nevertheless was a “great victory” that the Constitutional Court had agreed to hear the case.

She said the court would be able to consider whether the Assembly's rules “in failing, effectively, to provide for a deadlock-breaking mechanism”, were unconstitutional.

Sisulu and ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga would have to address the court, Mazibuko said.

Earlier this month Judge Dennis Davis ruled in the Cape High Court that it was any MP's right to request a no confidence debate, and that such requests were “by their very nature” urgent.

But, because the rules of the National Assembly did not make provision for no confidence debates, Davis could not tell Sisulu when and where the debate should be heard. - Sapa

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