Parliament heats up as no confidence motion gets dropped

BY CHARL BOSCH - MARCH 18, 2015

A motion of no confidence brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) against President Jacob Zuma was dropped after a 221 “against” versus 113 “for” vote in the National Assembly last night.

The outcome of the voting followed after another heated exchange between parties, triggered when DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, called Zuma a thief during his opening statement.

“In the six years that President Zuma has preceded over our country, the dream of President Nelson Mandela has been all but destroyed. You will vote for a thief, a man who stole the people’s money to build his R246 million home while millions of South Africans go to bed hungry”.

Wide scale objection followed with ANC Chief Whip, Stone Sizani, blasting Maimane for the comment, saying that no court has found Zuma of stealing any money. Asked by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to withdraw the comment, DA Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, stated that the ruling of the Constitutional Court allows for the President to be called a thief.

Rebuking his claim, Mbete stated that “The House is run by its own rules and internal arrangements. We are not run by another arm”.

Following a brief exchange between Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and Mbete, Maimane withdrew the remark before stating that “it is a sad day when your rights are protected outside The House but not inside”.

Maimane added that Zuma’s failure to accept accountability for the various accusations against him, had resulted in the party referring to him as “President I Did Not Know”.

“When we asked him about Nkandla, his response was, I did not know. When we asked him about his friends the Gupta’s landing at Waterkloof, the President’s response was, I did not know. When we challenged him to appear in this House, he told the country, I did not know. What does the President know then?”

He also took a swipe at Zuma’s failure to promote economic growth and that the ruling party would face a backlash if he is retained as president.

“The longer you keep this man in office, the more you show South Africans how the ANC has lost its way. You loosing MP’s and votes but today, you will still vote for him,” he concluded.

His sentiments were then rejected by various ANC MP’s with Minister in the Precedency, Jeff Radebe, describing the motion as a “desperate attempt by a party that has nothing to offer the country,” and that opposition parties should accept that Zuma will continue as president after the vote.

Matters then got heated moments later when EFF MP, Primrose Sonti, accused Zuma of being responsible for the Marikana tragedy, before calling him a thief.

“He stole the money without consulting South Africans. He is evil and I maintain he is a thief,” a translated version of her statement read. She was eventually forced to withdraw the remark.

A short while later, Human Settlements Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, stated that comments posted on twitter, showed that Maimane was a “desperate man trying to prompt up a desperate party”.

“It is a well-known fact the DA has an axe to grind with President Zuma long before he was president. The DA has made it its mission to hurl insults at the President which shows a deep-rooted hatred”.

She also took a stab at Maimane’s comment that the party had always honoured Mandela, and that the DA was nothing more than “a Micky Mouse” party.

“Everybody on twitter is telling the story that you are being propped-up by your Chief Whip behind you,” she said, which resulted in the party’s Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, David Maynier, jumping to Maimane’s defence.

“Will the Minister, who zoomed around this country on a Gulfstream executive jet, burning R11-million of taxpayer’s money, be prepared to take a question?”

Sisulu promptly denied the request before labelling a Maynier a “batting lunatic of a member”, which resulted in the DA and EFF calling for her to retract the comment unconditionally.

“I withdrew the comment that the member is indeed batty,” she said, leading to the EFF’s National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, accusing Mbete of showing favouritism to MPs, a claim she denied. Sisulu eventually withdrew the “lunatic remark” before saying, “this is a frivolous motion that should be in the rubbish bin”.

 

IMAGE sourced from suffragio.org