Cape Town - Parliament's “failure” to deal with a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma cannot be hidden behind a scheduling issue, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.
Anton Katz, for Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and other opposition parties, argued that the National Assembly's programming committee was using an impasse as a reason to hide from important national issues.
“Everyone in this room knows they (the ANC) don't want to debate it and it's not about time in this instance,” Katz said.
“These (issues) are not things we make up... Peoples' representatives have lost faith in the president. This debate needs to take precedence over other debates.”
National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga are opposing an urgent application brought by Mazibuko.
She wants the court to force Sisulu to “take whatever steps are necessary” to ensure the motion, which was tabled on November 8, is scheduled for a debate and vote before Parliament goes into recess.
The motion was brought on the grounds “that under his (Zuma's) leadership the justice system has been politicised and weakened; corruption has spiralled out of control; unemployment continues to increase, the economy is weakening, and the right of access to quality education has been violated”.
The motion was “mandated” by eight opposition parties, including the African Christian Democratic Party, the Azanian People's Organisation, the Congress of the People, the Freedom Front Plus, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Christian Democratic Party, and the United Democratic Front.
Motshekga described the motion as frivolous and without foundation.
The motion came before Sisulu, who adjourned the programming committee meeting without the debate being scheduled on the basis that no consensus had been reached.
Katz said that the motion would lapse if it was not scheduled for debate by Thursday.
“What this case is about, is not about separation of powers. It's about your Lordship's duty to uphold the Constitution and put on the table a motion of no confidence.” - Sapa