SA court begins hearing on no confidence motion against Zuma

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 10:50 hrs

-ANI): The Western Cape High Court on Tuesday began hearing on a no confidence motion brought by eight opposition parties against President Jacob Zuma.

The opposition tabled the motion on Nov. 8, but National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and ruling African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga blocked the motion by taking advantage of the ANC's two-thirds majority in Parliament.

On behalf of other opposition parties, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko is arguing in court papers that an order is necessary because Sisulu and the ANC are using "procedural machinations calculated to deliberately frustrate" the debate and vote going ahead.

In a replying affidavit filed on Monday, Sisulu rejects "with contempt" the allegation that he is engaging in "machinations."

The opposition launched a court battle last Friday, seeking an order to compel Sisulu to "take whatever steps necessary" to ensure the motion of no confidence is scheduled for debate and a vote before the National Assembly's last scheduled sitting for the year on Thursday.

The motion was brought on the grounds "that under his (Zuma's) leadership the justice system has been politicized and weakened; corruption has spiralled out of control; unemployment continues to increase, the economy is weakening, and the right of access to quality education has been violated."

Under the constitution, if a no confidence motion is supported by the majority in Parliament, the president must resign.

The ANC called the motion "frivolous", which had nothing to do with those sections of the Constitution dealing with the removal of the president from office.

"The motion of the opposition about the alleged violation of the Constitution by President (Jacob) Zuma is without foundation and cannot be supported by fact," Motshekga said.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said on Monday that the party has not refused to discuss a motion of no confidence in Zuma.

"The question we are dealing with here is not refusal, but a programming issue" and the party's decision was that there was no urgency in the matter, he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"The ANC cannot refuse to discuss a vote of no confidence or any motion for that matter, but the ANC cannot be frog-marched to prioritize a frivolous motion, that's why we say it's a programming matter, not a refusal matter," he said.

The court battle is unfolding before the ANC's electoral conference will cast a crucial vote next month to decide whether Zuma will remain president for another five years. (Xinhua-ANI)

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