A day after the minister of finance’s budget speech, MPs will once again slug it out on whether Zuma must vacate office as the president of the country in a motion of no confidence scheduled for February 22.
Parliament’s presiding officers, speaker Baleka Mbete, chairperson Thandi Modise, deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli and deputy chairperson Johannes Tau, rejected the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) request that the motion be debated before the state of the nation address (Sona). They emphasised that “whoever” is president in almost a week from now would deliver the address and therefore it was unnecessary to change the parliamentary programme to schedule this motion.
Mbete has acceded to EFF leader Julius Malema for Parliament to once again debate whether Zuma is fit to hold office as head of the state.
“Ms Mbete had also consulted relevant stakeholders,” said Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.
Parliament explained why the motion could only happen after Sona and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s first budget speech. Mothapo said the decision considered the National Assembly’s busy programme, including Sona, the Sona debate, the president’s reply and the tabling of the national budget on February 21.
In a letter addressed to EFF and DA, Mbete stated she had no power to accede “to the DA’s request to postpone the State of the Nation Address, scheduled for delivery to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces on 8 February”.
“Joint sittings were also matters of concern to both Houses of Parliament,” her letter read.
BREAKING: Speaker Baleka Mbete has scheduled @Julius_S_Malema request for a motion of no confidence against President Zuma for 22 February – a day after the Budget speech.
— Ranjeni Munusamy (@RanjeniM) February 2, 2018