South No-Confidence Motion Against President Ramaphosa Put On Hold Pending a Court Tussle

A last-minute court application meant a last-minute change in the House to postpone the no-confidence motion against President Cyril Ramaphosa to 2021. That’s the straightforward bit. Less so, the tussle over the secret ballot the African Transformation Movement insists on.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise had the last word on Thursday just after 2pm. “I have looked at the rules, and I have decided to postpone the debate and the vote on the motion.”

And it was up to the speaker to make that decision. After the Western Cape High Court, in judges’ chambers, agreed to hear the African Transformation Movement (ATM) challenge against the decision for an open ballot on 3 and 4 February 2021, ATM leader Vuyo Zungula had to formally ask for the postponement.

“ATM wishes to postpone the motion until the finalisation of the court proceedings,” he wrote to Modise in a letter seen by Daily Maverick.

Even though many matters parliamentary are taken to the courts – from the lack of rules and the wrong application of the rules, to disciplinary proceedings – the courts have refrained from telling Parliament how to run its business. If judges have found there was a problem, Parliament has…

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