No-confidence vote against South Africa’s Ramaphosa postponed to 2021

A proposed no-confidence motion against South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday was postponed to next year, a senior parliamentary official said, after the small opposition party seeking Ramaphosa’s removal asked a court for a secret ballot.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM), which holds two seats in the 400-member lower house dominated by the ruling African National Congress, went to court on Wednesday to try and reverse an earlier decision declining a secret ballot and opting for an open vote during the no-confidence debate.

The high court review of the matter will be heard on Feb.4, parliament said in a statement ahead of the scheduled vote.

The ATM wants Ramaphosa, who replaced his scandal-prone predecessor Jacob Zuma as South African president in 2018, removed over his handling of the weak economy, rampant corruption and even electricity cuts, according to the ATM motion launched in February but set down for Thursday.

“I have looked at the rules and I have decided to postpone the debate and the vote on the motion, pending the conclusion of the court application by the ATM,” Thandi Modise, Speaker of the National Assembly, told lawmakers.

According to the constitution, a motion of no confidence in the president needs to be supported by a simple majority in the National Assembly to pass.

The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said it did not support the ATM no-confidence motion and would abstain from voting. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.