Opposition parties have come to a consensus that Parliament must be dissolved, and President Jacob Zuma must be removed through a motion of no confidence.
The opposition leaders have also called for an early election, instead of waiting for the 2019 national elections.
The parties – which includes the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Congress of the People (Cope), and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) among others – held a press briefing on Monday following a protracted meeting on the current leadership negotiations that are taking place inside the ANC.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that opposition parties could not wait for the ANC to deal with Zuma’s fate because the party is complicit in the president’s wrongdoing.
Maimane explained that the Constitutional Court had found that the National Assembly had failed in its duties because it did not hold Zuma to account following the court judgement on Nkandla, and argued that the it should therefore be dissolved.
EFF leader Julius Malema said that the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete had not yet responded to the party’s letter requesting an early sitting of the National Assembly so that MPs may vote in a motion of no confidence in Zuma this week.
Malema said that if Mbete fails to respond to the letter by 10am on Tuesday, the party would launch an urgent application in court to force a response.
Parliament issued the following statement shortly after the opposition’s press briefing, saying that Mbete had not rejected the EFF’s request for vote of no confidence motion to be scheduled, but rather that she had not yet responded.
Reports that Speaker has rejected EFF’s request for the No Confidence Motion to be scheduled earlier than 22 Feb are fake news. Speaker has not responded yet, but she’s treating the matter with urgency. She will reply soon.
— Parliament of RSA (@ParliamentofRSA) February 12, 2018
“We are in a crisis as a country,” Malema said.
Malema said that if Zuma is removed it would follow that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa would become acting president, and the EFF does not support a Ramaphosa presidency.
“We are not for Cyril,” he said.
“Cyril is like Zuma, they are the same.”
Malema and Maimane both said that the ANC was also responsible for Zuma’s actions and the party could not be trusted to handle leadership negotiations that would affect the country.