30 November 2012

South Africa: Constitutional Court Agrees to Hear Application On Motion of No Confidence Debate

press release

My legal team has received notification today that the Constitutional Court has agreed to hear my application on the ANC's attempts to delay the debate on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, as well as the Speaker's failure to break the political deadlock and schedule the debate. The application will be heard on 28 March 2013.

The Constitutional Court has also ordered that the Speaker of the National Assembly file a report by 14 March 2013 "...on the progress achieved in the process of ensuring that motions of no confidence are appropriately provided for in the rules of the National Assembly".

While we are disappointed that the application cannot be heard before the end of this year, the fact that the Constitutional Court has agreed to hear the case, despite the Speaker and the ANC Chief Whip's arguments to the contrary, is a great victory for our continued efforts to uphold the constitutional principle that a majority party cannot block a debate on a motion of no confidence.

The hearing will provide the Constitutional Court with an opportunity, in terms of our application, to consider whether the rules of the National Assembly, in failing, effectively, to provide for a deadlock-breaking mechanism, are unconstitutional, as suggested by the Western Cape High Court in its judgment.

Both the Speaker of the National Assembly and the ANC Chief Whip will have to explain to the Constitutional Court and to South Africa why they did not take urgent steps to schedule the debate when I tabled the motion on 8 November 2012.

This intervention by the Constitutional Court, together with the judgment of the Western Cape High Court, will be remembered as a positive turning point in our constitutional democracy.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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