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MPs argued over open vote as dates for no-confidence motions against Ramaphosa, cabinet set

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet face a motion of distrust later this month, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, confirmed this.

This was revealed at a National Assembly Programming Committee meeting on Thursday.

In the proceedings, Mapisa-Nqakula told MPs that the movements submitted by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) will be discussed and voted on on March 30 in three weeks.

“Other issues that arise are the planning of the two without trust [against] the president and the cabinet… I will give feedback, but for now we propose the date of March 30, honorable members for both the debate and the vote on these two motions of no confidence,” she said.

open ballot paper

The chairman also indicated that an open ballot instead of a secret ballot would be held for both votes.

“On the 30e in March, when we vote on these motions, the vote will be open, which [chief] whips and for all parties,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

“I have always understood that if we vote for the [chief] whips will vote on the votes, but if there is anyone who wants to vote different from their party’s views, members will be able to do so,’ she added.

However, DA whipping chief Natasha Mazzone expressed concerns to Mapisa-Nqakula about an open vote and asked the chairman for legal advice on the matter so that it could be discussed before D-Day.

ALSO READ: ATM’s secret ballot bid for Ramaphosa vote of no confidence rejected

“At this stage, an open vote on something like this could be… we might as well be wasting our time. We have a joke in parliament about how long you are likely to stay if you vote against your party line,” Mazzone said.

Commenting on this, Mapisa-Nqakula said: “I would not have come to chair this meeting without taking legal advice. I spoke to the legal team and the legal team has given me advice that I believe is correct. As far as I am concerned, the environment in Parliament is not toxic at all.”

The chairman further said that it would be in the interests of transparency and democracy to hold an open vote.

‘Makes a sham’

She also rejected the DA’s request to bar the executive from participating in the debate and voting process due to a potential conflict of interest.

“I have determined that members of the executive branch will participate in the debate and also participate in the vote, because they are first and foremost MPs before they are members of the executive,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

This is despite protests from DA deputy head whip Siviwe Gwarube.

“Letting the executive vote on a motion that concerns them, while it may be legally sound, makes absolutely no sense and makes this whole process a sham. I ask that this be reconsidered, as I believe it completely defeats the purpose of the motion,” Gwarube said.

READ MORE: ANC is not from DA, Mantashe says after no-confidence vote

But Mapisa-Nqakula argued that “you can’t deny people the right to vote because the law allows them to”.

The speaker added that MPs could make formal comments if they disagreed with her decision

“If you wish to review this matter, you are free to do so. For now the statement I make is that both motions will be debated and voted on the 30e March, and that all MPs are expected to use it,” she said.

Rampahosa and cabinet

Last month, Mapisa-Nqakula disapproved the ATM’s request to hold a secret ballot on its motion of distrust against Ramaphosa.

The ATM had resubmitted submitted their motion of no confidence to Parliament following a Supreme Court (SCA) ruling in December 2021.

The motion was directed against Ramaphosa’s leadership over the sealing of his… Bank statements related to being campaign 2017 including the ANC presidency.

DA leader John Steenhuisen announced during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) debate last month that he had tabled a no-confidence motion against The whole cabinet of Ramaphosa

READ NOW: Open vote for confidence vote Ramaphosa ‘challenges logic,’ says ATM president

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