News The African Way

South Africa: Request to Recuse Cabinet Members From Voting Declined

National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has declined the Democratic Alliance (DA) request that Cabinet Members be refused from participating and voting on the motion of no confidence in the Cabinet, excluding President Cyril Ramaphosa, scheduled for 30 March 2022.

In his request, DA leader John Steenhuisen, indicated that there would be a conflict of interest, if Cabinet Members were allowed to participate in the motion of no confidence that seeks to remove them from office.

The motion of no confidence is scheduled to take place on 30 March 2022.

The Constitution regulates membership of the Assembly and participation of members in the House. Only the President and Cabinet members appointed in terms of Sections 91(3)(c) and 93(1)(b) of the Constitution are not eligible to vote on any decisions by the Assembly.

Mapisa-Nqakula noted that those Members of Parliament do not form part of the 400 public representatives constituting the Assembly in terms of the Constitution.

“The Constitution requires Ministers to account, participate, and vote in matters of the Assembly that may impact their political offices directly. Section 102(1) further provides that the motion is passed by the Assembly, if supported by the majority of its 400 members.

“I am of the view that if the drafters of the Constitution had intended to exclude the participation and voting by Cabinet Members, with the exception of those mentioned above, on a motion moved under either Section 102 (1) or (2), they would have been explicit in that intention,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker added that without any specific provision in the Constitution excluding Members of Cabinet from voting in a section 102 (1) motion, the members may not be denied their right to full participation in the proceedings of the Assembly.

The Speaker also referred to the Rules of the Assembly and the code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members interest for Assembly and Council Members, read with the Constitution, which differentiates between a member’s personal and political interest in a matter.

“As Ministers receive salaries and allowance in their official capacity as public office bearers, this did not amount to a personal interest,” she said.

The DA has also requested that a manual Roll-Call voting procedure be employed in the motion, where the Secretary must call each Member present to voice “Yes” or “No”.

The Speaker said she is considering the request and will respond in due course.

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