ANC not opposed to Zuma no-confidence debate – Mantashe

2012-11-19 16:13
Carien du Plessis
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the ANC has never opposed a parliamentary debate on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma – but now isn’t the time.

Apparently backtracking from the stance of the ANC parliamentary caucus last week, he told journalists in Luthuli House this afternoon that the party’s national executive committee received a report on this at its meeting in Pretoria over the weekend.

“We are happy that the ANC in Parliament has not refused to discuss the motion. The question we are dealing with here is not a refusal but a programming issue. We agree with our parliamentary caucus that there is no urgency on the matter,” he said.

He also slammed opposition parties, which are taking Parliament’s refusal to allow a debate on a motion of no confidence to court. The ANC used its majority in the National Assembly to block the debate.

The matter is set down to be heard tomorrow.

“By taking a purely parliamentary programming matter to court, the opposition is reducing Parliament to a subsidiary of the judiciary and thereby impending the legislative independence of Parliament.

On our part we will continue to defend the independence of Parliament even in the courts as an equal among the three arms of the state,” he said.

Last week the ANC’s parliamentary caucus said in a statement it would not allow the motion to be debated because it is “frivolous” and based on “allegations”.

Chief whip Mathole Motshekga said the motion was seeking to “try” Zuma in a “court of public opinion”.

The opposition parties wanted the debate because they said under his leadership the justice system had been weakened and corruption spiralled out of control.

Mantashe said Motshekga was also at the meeting over the weekend. Mantashe said he didn’t want to comment on things that “was said outside” the meeting.

ANC MPs rallied around Zuma on Thursday, when he was in Parliament for a scheduled session of questions to the president.