#cabinetreshuffle: Pressure mounts for no-confidence debate
Politics / 2 April 2017, 12:17pm / SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI
Cape Town - Speaker Baleka Mbete is under pressure to hold a debate for a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma in Parliament this week.
Spokesperson for Parliament Moloto Mothapo said on Saturday that Mbete is still considering requests made by the DA and EFF. Opposition parties want the motion to be debated this week.
The DA and EFF claim that several ANC MPs are willing to back the motion despite supporting Zuma against previous motions to remove him from office. Opposition MPs said on Saturday they will try and sway ANC counterparts to vote with them.
The ANC has the majority of MPs in the National Assembly – 249 out of 400.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Opposition parties suggest that now is the time to remove Zuma, because of his actions to axe Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas as finance minister and deputy finance minister respectively. They say even senior leaders have denounced the recent cabinet reshuffle.
This is not the first time that Zuma has faced motions of no confidence in Parliament. The ANC has previously described the attempts against him as frivolous.
Cope tabled the first motion in 2010 when its then-parliamentary leader Mvume Dandala faced off against Zuma. The DA subsequently tabled several motions to remove the president.
Zuma is the first president to face a series of motions of no confidence in the National Assembly. But he has survived all of them with the full backing of the ANC.
In Pietermaritzburg on Saturday, ANC members stood firmly behind Zuma, who looked unfazed but tired when he addressed a crowd in the Mbali township.
Acting KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala told the crowd that the ANC in the province supported the president’s decision to rearrange the cabinet, and that they were happy with the new ministers.
“I’ve been hearing people making comments about the recent cabinet reshuffle but what I know is that leadership is a relay; so when you lead, there will come a time when you have to hand over the baton to someone else,” he said.
“In politics, no one can rule forever. The only people who are born to lead until death are kings and chiefs and we accept that.”
MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, also backed Zuma – to thunderous applause and ululation.
“We support you during this time because when you do your duties as the president, you are bound to be criticised,” Kaunda said.
Zuma was in KwaZulu-Natal for the launch of the Aloe Ridge Westgate Grange social/rental housing project – the biggest in the country.
When Zuma spoke it was about housing projects around the country, including Cornubia, north of Durban. All interview requests were declined.
Also at the event was ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. On Saturday, he issued a statement expressing his frustration at how the cabinet reshuffle was handled, saying he felt the ANC was no longer at the centre of the president’s decisions.
“The manner in which these events unfolded may have had long undesirable consequences for the ANC and South Africa. Regardless of which individual is responsible for which portfolio, what matters most should always be the interest of the ANC and country above any other narrow interest,” Mkhize said.
He did not sit on the podium and left before the event ended.
Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday issued a statement denouncing reports that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had resigned.
“Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, Saturday, April 1, 2017, rejected the spread of falsehood and misinformation that he has resigned from his official position as the deputy president of the Republic of South Africa,” the statement said.
“There is no truth to the dissemination of this falsehood. Deputy President Ramaphosa remains in his position as deputy president of the Republic of South Africa and that of the ruling party.
“We reiterate his view that he will remain in government to serve the people in the realisation of the national objective of pushing back the frontiers of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“In this regard, Deputy President Ramaphosa on Friday, March 31, 2017, in Bloemfontein, said “I am staying to serve our people in government. I made my views known.
“There are quite a number of other colleagues and comrades who are unhappy about this situation, particularly the removal of the minister of finance who was serving the country with absolute distinction, with great ability, and he has proven that he is a talented person.”