Watty Watson
Watty Watson

CAPE TOWN — Parliament’s programming committee is likely to decide on Thursday morning if a no-confidence debate about the performance of President Jacob Zuma will be allowed in the National Assembly.

Last week Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko — on behalf of eight opposition parties — gave notice in the assembly that she would move for a motion of no confidence in the president. It remains up to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and the African National Congress (ANC) to decide whether the debate will be allowed to proceed.

Yesterday DA chief whip Watty Watson, briefing the media after a meeting of Parliament’s chief whips’ forum, said the matter had been discussed but no decision was taken. He said all of the opposition parties present supported the no-confidence debate. The ANC said it had not taken a position on the matter.

Mr Watson said the discussion had been calm and it was decided that the matter would be placed before the programming committee today.

Last week the eight opposition parties asked the National Assembly to resolve, in terms of provision 102(2) of the constitution that it has no confidence in Mr Zuma on the grounds that, under his leadership:

- the justice system has been weakened and politicised;

- corruption in the public service has spiralled out of control;

- unemployment levels continue to increase;

- the economy is weakening; and

- the right of access to quality education has been violated.

The ANC described the notice for the debate as "silly politicking".

Mr Watson said it was unprecedented that a motion of no confidence was not debated. According to the constitution, should the motion succeed, the president and his entire cabinet would have to resign, he pointed out.

However, even if the debate is allowed the chances of the motion succeeding are remote.