Khaya Magaxa to miss Zille no-confidence debate

ANC WCape chairperson says his absence due to an internal party matter

We will defeat 'baseless' Zille no-confidence motion - DA

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance will not support a motion of no confidence in Premier Helen Zille when it is debated in the Western Cape legislature on Thursday, the party has said.

DA Western Cape caucus chairperson Lorraine Botha and provincial chief whip Mark Wiley told the media on Wednesday that the "baseless" motion would be defeated.

"The content of the motion will be voted on for the third time now," Botha said.

"The DA is not going to change... We will vote in confidence of the premier."

The African National Congress in the Western Cape has mooted an application for a secret ballot during Thursday's debate.

Wiley, though, said the ANC had missed the 12:00 deadline to apply for a secret ballot.

"I know what's going to happen tomorrow. My colleague Pierre Uys [ANC chief whip] will stand up... and try to grandstand tomorrow, when he should have used the mechanism at his disposal."

Motion a 'serious matter'

He also said acting ANC chairperson Khaya Magaxa, who sponsored the motion, would be absent during the debate to see to his own party's "disastrous" factional battles in the province.

"Motions of no confidence are not small matters. They are very, very serious matters. Unfortunately the ANC in this province trivialises it," Wiley claimed.

Thursday's motion is the second time the ANC has called for a no confidence debate in Zille, since her infamous tweets seemingly praising aspects of colonialism - and the third against her since 2014.

Botha said the party and the province had achieved a "multitude of successes" under Zille's leadership, while also improving election results. There were, therefore, no reasons for the party to have lost confidence in her.

"The DA does not shy away from addressing issues head-on, unlike the ANC in Parliament, which continues to protect an inept, incapable, corrupt and captured president," Botha declared.

'We are ready to debate'

Magaxa told News24 that the DA had a case to answer to the nation.

"We are ready to debate," Magaxa said on Wednesday.

"We are ready for the discussion, and for the DA to tell the nation whether they share their leader's sentiments praising 'positive' aspects of colonialism."

When asked about whether he would be present in the House, he said it was "none of their [DA's] business", and was an internal ANC matter.

As leader of the opposition in the province, he had full confidence in the 14 ANC members who would take the issue to the governing DA.

He declined to comment on his party's internal provincial battles, saying the issue was now out of his jurisdiction, and had been taken over by the national leadership.

'Does not enjoy support of the people'

In June, a small group from the ANC provincial caucus picketed outside the Western Cape legislature to call for Zille's removal as premier.

Zille had faced a public lashing since March, following tweets and subsequent apology for praising some aspects of colonialism.

Zille and the party agreed that she would step down from all positions in the DA, as censure, but would remain in her government position as premier until the end of her term in 2019.

ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said Zille's tweets had harmed the people she governed, not just her party.

"We may be few, but we have a clear message for Premier Zille: She does not enjoy the support of our people," Jacobs said at the time.

Colonialism had created a genocide of the ancestors of many people in the Western Cape - the Khoi and the San - and had also banned certain religions, and enslaved many.

Magaxa had said Zille's statement was racist, and an "extreme insult" to the people of the province and the country.

The debate will take place near the end of Thursday's sitting, around 17:00.