Row as no-confidence motion dropped
THE already battered political credibility of Agang SA suffered another blow when it withdrew a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma just as it was about to be debated by the National Assembly yesterday.
Agang MP Andries Tlouamma cut a lonely figure in a chamber that was spoiling for yet another fight after he abruptly withdrew the motion when Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti pointed out that his introduction of the debate did not address the subject up for discussion.
The ANC had prepared senior ministers to defend Zuma, including Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Lindiwe Sisulu of Human Settlements and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula of Defence. With the withdrawal of the motion, the floodgates were opened against Tlouamma, as opposition MPs took turns slamming him, calling him a coward who had wasted their time.
Agang last week unsuccessfully approached the Western Cape High Court seeking an order to stop the debate on its motion from going ahead, pending a decision in its separate application for MPs to be allowed a secret vote on the matter.
ANC chief whip Stone Sizani had earlier said Agang’s motion would be dumped in the “parliament history dustbin” as it was being done to satisfy the struggling party’s hunger for publicity.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete grew impatient with Tlouamma when he indicated he was pulling the debate.
“Honourable Tlouamma, you don’t know how long you’ve been dragging us around, as different parties, on this matter of your motion,” she said. Tlouamma retorted: “Honourable Speaker, you speak as if you’re blackmailing me. Is that blackmail?”
But that provoked a volley of criticism from opposition MPs.
“This sort of thing actually undermines our ability as MPs to hold the executive to account properly,” DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said: “He must really stop [playing] games.”