The DA's motion calling for early elections will be debated in the National Assembly next week, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said. File picture: Tracey Adams

Parliament - The Democratic Alliance's motion calling for early elections will be debated in the National Assembly on Tuesday next week, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said.

Steenhuisen said the decision was reached in the National Assembly Programme Committee on Thursday morning.

The DA announced the motion on August 9, the day after an opposition motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma failed to pass, but caused bitter political fallout in the ruling party by drawing the support of a number of ANC MPs. At least 26 members of the party voted in favour of it in a secret ballot.

The latest motion was brought in terms of section 50(1) of the Constitution, which allows for a simple majority decision to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections.

The DA says there is compelling cause, including the economic recession and high rate of unemployment, to go to the polls two years early. But whereas the opposition was united in its backing of the August 8 vote of no confidence, smaller parties have said that this time they will not support the motion.

Steenhuisen said: "The DA will call on all MPs to support this motion to usher in new elections. Given the enormity of the challenges lying ahead, South Africa cannot afford to have the ANC in power any longer.

"With over half of South Africans living in abject poverty, 9.3 million of our people without work and our economy showing no signs of being able to recover from the recession, we need a new beginning."