Cape Town – Parliament’s Speaker Baleka Mbete on Tuesday faced a barrage of opposition demands that she step aside ahead of a debate over whether President Jacob Zuma should be removed.
She had deflected a torrent of shouts of “step down” ahead of the motion by the DA after the Nkandla Constitutional Court judgment last Thursday.
The ANC has thrown a protective ring around Zuma, but the opposition wants him to go. The Speaker was found to have violated the Constitution over the handling of the Nkandla report by the public protector.
“No, no Baleka listen to me, you are not a Speaker here,” said EFF leader Julius Malema, keeping the opposition party’s promise to bring things to a standstill until she and Zuma left.
“You do not have a right to sit where you are sitting. You are sitting illegally,” boomed Malema, after the party won an application to the Constititutional Court to have Zuma and the Speaker’s handling of the report on spending on Zuma’s homestead, declared unconstitutional and illegal.
“You were there, you messed up this case,” said Malema.
The EFF was the first to ask Mbete to step down and have the deputy chair preside over the debate over whether Zuma should be removed in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution. Other opposition speakers swifty followed.
Newly installed ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu lobbed a Constitutional point back at Malema, saying the highest law of the land did not allow Malema to ask her to step down, and added that the whole of Parliament was implicated in the damning judgment.
“There is no such!” shouted Malema.
Mbete calmly told him not to speak to her like that and moved on to allow other MPs to speak.
Although some in the ANC caucus heckled and shouted, not everybody on that side of the house joined in, with many just watching quietly.
DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said Mbete was accountable for what the National Assembly said and did, and the matter had fatally compromised her ability to preside in an impartial matter over something she was implicated in.
Cope leader Mosioua Lekota said: “The court has found that you have failed.”
The IFP and the FF Plus agreed that she should step aside for the deputy to take over.
When she suggested putting the request to a vote, Malema jumped up and shouted at the ANC caucus who signalling agreement with the proposal: “Voting cattles, you voting for wrong things. You voted for the Nkandla report.
“Listen to superior logic, stop voting things.
“Bloody voting cattles!”
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi did not mince his words either.
“You are illegitimate. You lack judgement, you are a constitutional illiterate, you can’t understand.
“You step down. We want to remove Zuma today, its simple, please step down.”