South Africa’s biggest opposition party tables motion of no confidence in Cabinet

South Africa’s biggest opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA), on Monday said it has tabled a motion of no confidence to Parliament in the South African Cabinet, excluding President Cyril Ramaphosa, which could lead to the extensive Cabinet reshuffle if passed.

   DA leader, John Steenhuisen, announced this during the first-day debate on the State of the Nation Address which was delivered by President Ramaphosa last Thursday in Cape Town City Hall, after January’s fire gutted various parts of Parliament.

The two-day debate, starting from Monday, was attended by members of the two Parliament Houses in City Hall and a virtual platform.

   If the lower house National Assembly, which the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has 230 seats out of a total of 400 seats, passes a motion of no confidence by a vote supported by a majority of its members in the Cabinet excluding the president, the president must reconstitute the Cabinet, according to the Constitution.

   Steenhuisen urged the government to implement the plans according to the speech, while attacking the accountability and capability of the Cabinet led by ANC.

   ANC’s Chief Whip, Pemmy Majodina, who represented the party in the debate called President Ramaphosa’s speech as “action-oriented” and said it reflects an “honest account” of progress and challenges of what needs to be done.

   South African President usually used this annual speech to assess the country’s domestic and international situation, report on existing government programs and present plans for the coming year. The parliament will debate the address next week.

   This is the first-ever State of the Nation Address held outside the parliament. The historic City Hall was where former South African President, Nelson Mandela, addressed the nation after his release from prison on February 11, 1990.

   DA said after the speech that it partly agreed on the measures in the speech, such as creating conditions to enable the private sector, establishing a separate electricity transmission entity and relaxing labour legislation for small and medium enterprises, but asked for action.

   The official opposition has been consistent in opposing the ruling ANC on various issues- governance at provincial and municipal levels, including in Western Cape Province and the legislative capital, Cape Town. However, both parties suffered losses in last November’s municipal elections and smaller parties gained more support. -Xinhua

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