ATM’s request to postpone no-confidence motion against Ramaphosa declined

ATM’s request to postpone no-confidence motion against Ramaphosa declined

A request by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) to postpone the motion of no confidence against President Cyril Ramaphosa has been turned down by the National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula.

The ATM wanted the motion postponed pending the outcome of a high court challenge to the speaker’s decision to have the motion conducted by open ballot.

The party wrote an urgent letter to Mapisa-Nqakula after it was told by the court that it was impossible for the judge to hear arguments within 48 hours prior to the National Assembly’s scheduled debate.

“The ATM will enroll the secret ballot case in a normal court roll because the judge said it is impossible for her… to be in time for the debate that is scheduled for Wednesday the 30th of March, The ATM will henceforth write a letter to the speaker of the national assembly requesting her to postpone the debate on no-confidence motion in Ramaphosa, until the court has heard the matter,” ATM Spokesperson Zama Ntshona told the SABC earlier on the day.

Mapisa-Nqakula, however, advised the ATM that, as the power to postpone items on the agenda of the Assembly resided with the National Assembly Programming Committee, she could not unilaterally accede to their request.

She referred the ATM to Rule 90, that provides, among others, that no member may anticipate the discussion of a matter appearing on an order paper or agreed upon by the Programme Committee for scheduling.

“In this regard, the implication of the ATM’s motion is that it will remain on the Order Paper, thereby blocking other similar motions. The Speaker has a duty to protect the rights of other parties to move motions of no confidence in the President,” said parliament Spokesperson Moloto Mathapo.

This means that on Wednesday parliament will discuss both the motions of no confidence in the President and in the cabinet, excluding the President.

Meanwhile the Democratic Alliance (DA) said it will protest outside the gates of Parliament on Wednesday, in support of its motion against Cabinet.

This after Mapisa-Nqakula also on Monday declined DA leader John Steenhuisen’s request that ministers be refused from participating and voting on the motion of no confidence in the Cabinet.

Steenhuisen indicated that there would be a conflict of interest if Cabinet Members were allowed to participate in the motion that seeks to remove them from office.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the constitution requires Ministers to account, participate, and vote in matters of the Assembly that may impact their political offices directly.

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