The following parties; ACDP, APC, COPE, DA, EFF, IFP and the UDM met today to discuss a number of burning political issues.
1. Secret Ballot or not? The 22 June Constitutional Court judgment
We welcome the Constitutional Court judgement on the Speaker’s discretion to decide whether a vote on a no-confidence motion in the President of the Republic should be secret or not. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, has given the Speaker of the National Assembly wise advice in the Court’s judgement:
“South Africa is a constitutional democracy – a government of the people, by the people and for the people through the instrumentality of the Constitution. It is a system of governance that “we the people” consciously and purposefully opted for to create a truly free, just and united nation. Central to this vision is the improvement of the quality of life of all citizens and the optimisation of the potential of each through good governance.”
About the power of those in public office the Constitutional Court said:
“They are therefore not to be used for the advancement of personal or sectarian interests. Amandla awethu, mannda ndiashu, maatla ke a rona or matimba ya hina (power belongs to us) and mayibuye iAfrika (restore Africa and its wealth) are much more than mere excitement-generating slogans.”
Some political parties in Parliament have already begun to make their submissions to the Speaker to further motivate for a secret ballot. However, we reinforce the ruling that it is within her discretion to make a determination. We hope that for once, she will be impartial and take a decision for the benefit of South Africa.
We note her instructions to the ANC MPs to vote in favour of their President; the Speaker is patently biased and therefore compromised. She cannot preside over the debate. To add to this, Ms Mbete will act as President in the event of the success of the no-confidence-vote which makes her even more conflicted.
2. Activities on the day of the Motion of No-Confidence
Regarding activities scheduled for the 8th of August, the date on which the vote on the no-confidence motion will take place in the National Assembly, we call all South Africans to converge in Cape Town and march to Parliament in support of a better South Africa without a incompetent President at the helm.
Those who are not able to make it to Cape Town must engage in activities in their villages, townships and towns. We call on the entire civil society sector, religious institutions, traditional leaders, unions, and everybody, to stand up to a scandalous President.
3. Speaker’s worrying comments on the judiciary
We are concerned about Ms Baleka Mbete’s accusations that certain judges are biased against her party. This undermines her duty to act as a liaison between Parliament as an institution and the other arms of State. This means that she still fails to separate her role as the head of the National Assembly and that of the African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson.
4. Attack on the media
We, in the strongest terms, condemn the Black First Land First-led onslaught on journalists. We reaffirm our commitment to a free and independent media whose right, to keep the nation informed, is guaranteed by the Constitution. We denounce this emerging foreign culture of intolerance we witness these days.
5. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry on State Capture
We call on President Zuma to demonstrate, for once, that he is true to his words; telling the National Assembly that he is about to announce a Commission Inquiry on State Capture. He should with immediate effect withdraw his court challenge on the Public Protector’s State Capture Report and announce the Commission as per the remedial actions of the Public Protector.
6. The racially divisive Bell Pottinger’s agenda
We reject the so-called apology by a racist prone Bell Pottinger. The ANC and its Gupta sponsors must explain why they allowed such rampant racism to divide the Nation, using resources which should have been dedicated to bettering the lives of all South Africans.
The ANC and its government must come clean and explain how they ended up in the pockets of this racist company.
7. Public Protector
We condemn the conduct of the Public Protector in terms of the remedial actions affecting the Reserve Bank. Her flip-flops on the matter does not paint a picture of an incontrovertible Public Protector.
We call on Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to unequivocally apologise to the Nation and that she immediately stops turning this office into a political side show that serves the interests of a destructive faction within the ruling party.
We also call on the National Assembly Justice Portfolio Committee to summon Advocate Mkhwebane to account for her actions, in this regard.
8. The work of the Independent Electoral Commission
With a view to improve the freeness and fairness of the 2019 National and Provincial Elections, opposition party leaders wish to soon meet with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to again discuss our perennial concerns; what their interventions are on that score; and also brief us on their state of readiness for 2019.
9. Party funding
Public funding of political parties is a critical tool to foster a healthy multi-party democracy.
We are however worried about the intentions of the ruling party; in particular after their losing some metropolitan municipalities in 2016 and with them facing a strong possibility of losing the majority in 2019 National and Provincial Elections.
Our position is that we must ensure equitable allocation of resources to all political parties in terms of the current legislation. We must first establish a common interpretation and application of the existing legislation and once that is done, we can think about further funding, if necessary.
10. Security of leaders of political parties
The issue of the privacy and safety of political leaders has recently come to the fore. Over the past few months many reports have surfaced of an alleged rogue intelligence unit spying on leaders.
Most recently, the emails and documents obtained through the #GuptaLeaksshowed how the family spied on prominent South Africans.
We have resolved to ask the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence to request a briefing from the State security apparatus on the media reports; especially in cases where some leaders have apparently been targeted for assassination.
By Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
On behalf of Opposition Parties represented in the National Assembly.
Burgers Park Hotel, Pretoria on 13 July 2017