The Speaker of the Free State Provincial Legislature, Mamiki Qabathe, and the Chief Whip, Neels van Rooyen, appear to be deliberately stalling on a decision to convene an urgent sitting of the Legislature to debate and vote on the motion of no confidence the DA tabled in Premier Ace Magashule last week.
We have received correspondence from Speaker Qabathe that she has referred the matter to the Chief Whips’ Committee to consider the process to be followed for a motion of no confidence to be heard. There is currently a lacuna in the Legislature’s Standing Rules and Orders with regards to motions of no confidence.
The DA then wrote to the Chief Whip of the Legislature, Neels van Rooyen, urging him to urgently call a meeting of the Chief Whips’ Committee to discuss the procedure to be followed. We received correspondence from him that due to commitments of the Legislature, the next available opportunity to meet to discuss this matter is the 26 February 2018, six days after the State of the Province Address scheduled for 20 February 2018 in Parys.
This is quite unacceptable.
The Western Cape High Court ruled in 2012 that motions of no confidence are inherently urgent and that they should receive precedence over other business. In 2013 the Constitutional Court ruled that the National Assembly should correct its rules to make provision for matters of no confidence in line with the provisions of the Constitution. The National Assembly (NA) then complied. It is the view of the DA that the same rules adopted by the National Assembly can be incorporated in the Legislature’s Standing Rules and Orders to immediately debate the motion of no confidence in Premier Ace Magashule.
As such, we will today write to Speaker Qabathe and Chief Whip Van Rooyen, forwarding to them the respective court judgements and the NA rule, number 129, urging them to immediately consider our request to hold a special sitting to debate and vote on the motion of no confidence in Premier Magashule.
Now that the State of the Nation Address has been postponed to a date yet to be decided, it is likely the State of the Province Address will also be postponed. This allows the Legislature ample time to schedule a special sitting.
The ANC must stop frustrating the business of the Legislature. We have a constitutional mandate to hold the Executive to account and as such we must find the time to do so.
Ace Magashule must be held accountable for the corruption taking place in the Free State Provincial Government. It is not up to the ANC to simply redeploy him. The Legislature has a constitutional duty to hold him accountable. The Legislature must do its work by removing the political head of this corrupt patronage network and ensure that implicated individuals face the full might of the law.