CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) --
South African Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete has
decided to postpone debate and vote on the motion of no
confidence in President Jacob Zuma, Parliament said Wednesday.
followed a request by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA),
under whose leader the motion was tabled, for postponing the
motion pending conclusion of the Constitutional Court
application by the United Democratic Movement (UDM), Parliament
spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
The motion was
originally scheduled for April 18, as requested by DA leader
But the UDM
approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Monday, asking
for an order to have voting on the motion of no confidence
conducted through a secret ballot.
The ConCourt on
Tuesday granted the UDM access to argue its application for a
secret ballot when a motion of no confidence in Zuma is
Under the court
ruling, other involving parties can file opposing papers until
Following the court
order, several opposition parties have called for the
postponement of the debate.
The UDM said a new
date should be set for April 25 so as to allow the respondents
time to file their papers.
While agreeing to
the postponement, Mbete did not say when the debate would be
conducted, according to Mothapo.
The postponement of
the motion will be referred to the National Assembly Programme
Committee for its consideration after the constituency period,
Committee will be requested to reflect on the implications of
the postponement of the motion of no confidence on the programme
of the House, especially in light of Rule 90 (rule of
anticipation),” the spokesperson said.
In terms of Rule 90,
postponed motions remain on the programming system of the
Assembly, thereby blocking any MP from tabling a similar motion
until the one that has been tabled is debated and voted on.
The DA submitted the
motion in the hope of toppling Zuma, who has been criticized for
reshuffling the cabinet on March 31, with the sacking of Finance
Minister Pravin Gordhan and nine other ministers.
The move has
prompted international rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and
Fitch to downgrade SA’s credit rating to junk status.
believe that a secret ballot would allow MPs of the ruling
African National Congress (ANC) to vote in favor of the motion.
The ANC has rejected
calls by opposition parties for a secret ballot.
The party has said
its MPs must vote according to the party line.
Some ANC MPs
reportedly voiced fear that they would be disciplined or removed
if they vote in support of the motion.
For a vote of no
confidence motion to be successful, it requires 201 of the 400
National Assembly MPs to vote in favor.
If the motion is
successful, then the president, his deputy, cabinet ministers
and all their deputies must resign as provided for in section
102 of the Constitution.
In 2016, Zuma
survived two no confidence motions in Parliament that is
dominated by ANC MPs.