The Constitutional Court has dismissed an application by the DA to declare that Parliament’s speaker had a duty to ensure a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.
In a majority judgment written by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, the court found that the rules of Parliament did not confer on the speaker, Max Sisulu, the power to schedule a motion of no confidence in the president.
The DA had argued that when the motion of no confidence in Zuma by Lindiwe Mazibuko, the parliamentary leader of the DA, became tied up in the Chief Whip’s Forum and the Programme Committee, the speaker had a duty to ensure the matter was debated and voted on in Parliament.
The majority of the court, however, agreed with the DA in finding that the rules of Parliament were inconsistent with a provision of the Constitution, because they did not vindicate the rights of a member of Parliament to have a motion of no confidence discussed and voted on within a reasonable time.
The order of constitutional invalidity of the rules has been suspended by the Constitutional Court. This means Parliament will have time to amend its rules to bring them in line with the Constitution.
A minority judgment by Justice Chris Jafta, in which Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and justices Mhlantla (acting) and Zondo, concurred, would not have granted the DA direct access to the Constitutional Court.
The minority held this on the basis that it was not in the interests of justice for the court to grant direct access when the national assembly has already begun amending its rules.
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