Opposition parties outraged by the Nkandla controversy will take their unhappiness a step further by voting against President Jacob Zuma being officially re-elected in Parliament when the National Assembly meets for the first time after next Wednesday’s elections.
Speaking a day after the Nkandla ad hoc committee was dissolved by the ANC using its majority, the parties have vowed not to let go of the Nkandla matter when the new parliament convenes, with the IFP promising to write to the new Speaker requesting a new committee and the DA threatening legal action.
The first sitting of Parliament is expected to take place on May 21, when the parties will vote against Zuma after the new members have been sworn in and the Speaker and deputy Speaker have been elected.
The inauguration of the president-elect of the Republic, which will most likely be Zuma, will take place at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on May 24, and will be overseen by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who will also preside over the election of the Speaker.
“Of course you can abstain when the election of the president is done or vote for our own (presidential) candidate or for a candidate we agree on. We can vote for that and not vote for the ANC. That much we can do.
“If they say we may only vote for the candidate of the ANC, then we can abstain and refuse to vote. Abstaining is also voting,” said Cope President Mosiuoa Lekota.
DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said after the 2009 elections, her party voted in support of Zuma in Parliament, but this still had to be decided by the party this time.
“We have a convention in the DA because we take the constitution very seriously that at the end of a general election, we usually vote in favour of the majority party’s presidential candidate on the grounds that that presidential candidate was put to the electorate in a general election and the voice of the people has been heard.”
She said the party found itself in different circumstances now because Zuma was not in his first term as president.
“Unlike in 2009 when we did vote in favour of his presidency, we will have a track record on which to judge his work. Unfortunately, I can’t predict for you now what that decision will be because it has to be a decision led by incoming parliamentary membership in consultation with party leader Helen Zille, who is a full member of parliamentary caucus.”
Freedom Front Plus chief whip Corne Mulder said: “The position I would take to and advocate to my party, I think I may convince them obviously, will be that there is no way we will ever support or vote for Zuma to become the next president – no way.”
He said “hopefully” there would be another candidate the party could support.
IFP MP and treasurer-general Narend Singh said the Nkandla matter must be taken up by the new parliament to ensure that “nothing is brushed under the carpet on carefully engineered time frames”.
“On behalf of all South Africans, the IFP will not let go of this issue,” he said.