NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN PARLIAMENT
Parliament, Wednesday 14 February 2018 On 6 February 2018, two days before the scheduled State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Presiding Officers of Parliament announced their decision to postpone the flagship event due to the serious circumstances within and outside the institution. They indicated, at the time, that the outcome of the thorough consultative process, including with the President of the Republic, the Leader of Government Business, the Chief Whip of the Majority Party and other key stakeholders, warranted the difficult decision of the SONA postponement until a conducive environment obtained.
Parliament appreciates the sense of anxiety and uncertainty amongst many South Africans regarding this protracted process. The new developments announced today, therefore, seek to bring this matter to its conclusion in the best interests of South Africa and her people.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa confers the powers to appoint and remove the President of the Republic of South Africa on the National Assembly. The President is elected in terms of Section 86 of the Constitution. His or her term of office begins on assuming office and ends upon a vacancy occurring or when the person next elected President resumes office.
A decision was taken to hold a sitting of the National Assembly to consider a proposed Motion of No Confidence in the President of the Republic, Mr JG Zuma, for Thursday, 15 February 2018. The motion was initially scheduled for 22 February 2018 taking into account the programme of the National Assembly. The request for the scheduling of this motion was made by the Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The decision to schedule this motion for tomorrow, Thursday 15 February, was made after consultation with the Leader of Government Business and the Chief Whip of the Majority Party and was supported by various political parties represented on the National Assembly’s Programme Committee.
The voting on the Motion will by open ballot.
Also agreed at this afternoon’s multiparty National Assembly Programme Committee meeting was the following:
Election of the new President at 10.00 on Friday, 16 February, subject to a directive of the Chief Justice to that effect
Joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces at 19.00 on Friday, 16 February for the President to deliver the 2018 State of the Nation Address
Joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces on Monday, 19 February, to debate the President’s State of the Nation Address
Reply by the President to the debate on Tuesday, 20 February
Budget Speech at 14.00 on 21 February
Should the Motion of No Confidence succeed against the President, the Speaker will officially inform Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng about the outcome and request him to determine an appropriate date for the election of a new President by the National Assembly. The Chief Justice is responsible for presiding over the election of a new President, or may designate another judge to do so. In terms of Section 86(3), an election to fill a vacancy in the office of President must be held at a time and on a date determined by the Chief Justice, but not more than 30 days after the occurrence of the vacancy.
Once the Chief Justice has written to the Speaker calling for the meeting of the Assembly at a time and date he deems appropriate to elect a President in terms of section 86(3) of the Constitution, his letter will be published in the Parliamentary journals for the attention of Members of Parliament.
The Presiding Officers of Parliament once again extend appreciation to all South Africans for their patience, understanding and admirable sense of patriotism during this critical period in our country.
With the announcement of the SONA date, Parliament is already underway with finalising preparations, which were already at an advanced stage, to realise a successful ceremony on Friday. This includes contacting all guests to inform them of the new date and to finalise their accreditation process.
Text of the motion:
No 1–2018] FIFTH SESSION, FIFTH PARLIAMENT
PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
THURSDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2018
Meeting of House: 14:00
1. Draft resolution (Mr J S Malema): That the House resolves, in terms of section 102(2) of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996, that it has no confidence in Mr J G Zuma as President of the Republic of South Africa on the grounds that:
(1) on 13 October 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal found that the decision by the then Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate M Mpshe, to discontinue prosecution of Mr Zuma was irrational and therefore set it aside, at the same time the appeal of Mr Zuma in this regard was also set aside and as such Mr Zuma potentially faces multiple charges of fraud, money laundering, racketeering and corruption;
(2) on 8 December 2017, a full bench in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria concluded that Mr Zuma was simply reckless when he unceremoniously removed the former National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP), Mr M S O Nxasana, and the appointment of Mr S Abrahams was set aside and the position of the NDPP declared vacant;
(3) the court further declared that “as long as Mr Zuma is in office, the Deputy President is responsible for decisions relating to the appointment, suspension or removal of the NDPP” on account of being conflicted in relation to the Supreme Court of Appeal order for the NDPP to proceed with the prosecution of Mr Zuma;
(4) on 13 December 2017, the Gauteng High Court dismissed Mr Zuma’s court bid to set aside the Public Protector’s “State of Capture” report, reaffirming that the report is binding and ordered Mr Zuma to appoint a Commission of Inquiry within 30 days, headed by a Judge solely selected by the Chief Justice and it further dismissed Mr Zuma’s court bid to interdict the publication of the
State of Capture report and ordered him to pay personally and not from the fiscus;
(5) the court further remarked that –
(a) the President persisted with litigation and forced the intervening parties to incur costs in circumstances when this should and could have been avoided as well as delaying the release of the report;
(b) he clearly acted in flagrant disregard for the constitutional duties of the Public Protector; and
(c) the President's application was based on self-created urgency, and that he had become aware some six months before his abortive application that the Public Protector was in possession of complaints implicating him in serious misconduct and did nothing when he was invited for comment; and
(6) Mr Zuma deliberately chose to continuously behave in an unreasonable, irrational and reckless manner a threat to state security, our democracy and a danger to society.
Statement issued by Parliament, 14 February 2018