President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Cyril Ramaphosa’s day of reckoning?

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Nov 27, 2020

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Cape Town - Hopes of the African Transformation Movement (ATM) for a secret ballot have been dashed when Parliament votes on the motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa next Thursday.

This comes after National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise on Thursday turned down their request saying there would be an open ballot as the ATM has not offered any evidence of a highly charged atmosphere of any members in the motivation for their request.

Modise made the decision hours after she agreed to the ATM’s request for a debate on a motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa.

In a motion tabled in February, ATM leader Vuyo Zungula alleged that Ramaphosa had misled the country when he said there would be no load-shedding between December 17, 2019, and January 13.

Zungula had also listed alleged failure by Ramaphossa to act against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and the Eskom board.

Other grounds in Zungula’s motion included the R500 000 donation made by the late Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson for his CR17 presidential candidate campaign.

On Thursday, National Assembly secretary Masibulele Xaso informed the programme committee that Modise had approved the request to debate the motion.

“There has been a request from the ATM for a motion of no confidence in the president that came through several months ago.

“The Speaker has approved that request and our recommendation is that it be dealt with next Thursday, December 3,” Xaso said.

But, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the motion would be debated and voted on in a hybrid sitting of the House through an open ballot.

“A request by the ATM to have the motion voted on by way of a secret ballot was declined by the Speaker,” Mothapo said.

He also said Section1(d) of the Constitution sets “openness” as a fundamental principle for our democracy and that it instructed the national legislature to conduct its business in an open manner.

“The Constitutional Court has indicated that a secret ballot becomes necessary where the prevailing atmosphere is toxified or highly charged.

“The Speaker found that the ATM had not offered any evidence of a highly charged atmosphere of any members in the motivation for their request,” Mothapo added.

ATM spokesperson Sibusiso Mncwabe said they welcomed Modise’s decision to grant an opportunity for a debate.

“The leaders are engaging in a meeting to decide on the way forward,” Mncwabe said, adding that a statement will be released today.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the motion of no confidence lost its sting when it was used almost every two months against former president Jacob Zuma.

Fikeni said the ANC knows even at the worst of times they would not vote their president out.

Another political analyst Protas Madlala said the motion was a non-issue.

“We are faced with very difficult problems now and to come with this, this is a non-issue. It is doomed to fail. It won’t fly,” Madlala said.

Political Bureau

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