Motshekga and Sisulu clash

FURIOUS: Max Sisulu
FURIOUS: Max Sisulu

SPARKS flew in Parliament yesterday between speaker Max Sisulu and ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga over a decision to put on ice a planned National Assembly debate on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

This follows an announcement at a meeting of Parliament's programming committee yesterday morning, by the DA that it was no longer interested in debating the contentious motion as it lapsed when Parliament went on a final recess at the end of last year.

The DA, which tabled the motion supported by seven other opposition parties, said it would now approach the Constitutional Court to clarify the rights of MPs from minority parties with regards to the tabling of such motions.

But the meeting got heated when Motshekga tried to argue that the DA had lost confidence in its own motion.

"If the call for a confidence debate by the DA were genuine and made in good faith, the DA and their partners would reinstate it. Their failure and neglect to do so confirms our view that their motion was frivolous," Motshekga said.

But Sisulu would not entertain any discussion of the matter.

"I really, really won't allow you to continue. You are really out of order. This is not about political statements here. The matter has lapsed.

"Parliament is an institution governed by rules and the rules are that if a matter has lapsed it can only be resuscitated by the people who put the motion there. I really rule you out of order, absolutely out of order," an angry Sisulu said to Motshekga.

But acting ANC deputy chief whip Mmamoloko Kubayi and Motshekga said they saw no reason why the motion could not go ahead.

The parties allege that under Zuma's leadership the justice system has been politicised, corruption has spiralled out of control and unemployment continues to increase.

When it was first discussed last year the ANC used its majority to block the debate. The Western Cape High Court, found that parliamentary rules were not clear on whether Parliament can be forced to schedule such a debate as an urgent matter.