DA calls on ministers to be recused from voting in no-confidence motions

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has requested that ministers be recused from voting in their own motion of no confidence. 

This comes after the party last month tabled a motion of no-confidence against the entire Cabinet, giving Ramaphosa “a chance to rewrite his presidency” by allowing the DA to help him fire his Cabinet. 

“If it’s not possible for President Ramaphosa to hold his Executive accountable, then we’ll take that burden off his hands and let Parliament fire them,” said Steenhuisen at the time.  

The party has now announced that Steenhuisen on Saturday wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly on how the voting should proceed to ensure fairness and accuracy. 

“A motion of no confidence in the entire Cabinet, tabled in terms of Section 102(1) of the Constitution, is not an action taken lightly, and it is therefore critical that the voting procedure produce a fair and accurate outcome,” said Steenhuisen. 

In his letter, he argues that there will be a conflict of interest should the ministers be allowed to vote in their own motions of no confidence.  

“They clearly have a direct and substantial stake in the outcome of the vote in terms of their positions on the Executive along with all the material benefits of the job. Allowing their participation would not be in the spirit of Section 102(1) of the Constitution. This would also violate the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature,” argued Steenhuisen.  

The DA leader also requested that the Speaker use a manual roll call for the vote. 

“The requirement that Members simply need to be logged on to a virtual platform so that a party whip can count their vote is insufficient as it doesn’t guarantee that these Members are in fact present and voting when the votes are cast,” said Steenhuisen.  

The manual roll call requires each member to answer the Secretary with a “Yes” or “No” when individually called upon, which ensures that each Member present in the House votes when the question is put.  

“The tellers must then sign the roll call lists and hand them to the Presiding Officer who, after confirming the accuracy of the recorded and tallied votes, immediately declares the result. Should the accuracy of this declaration be challenged, the Presiding Officer may again put the question and hold another roll call,” he explained.  

Parliament will debate and vote on the DA-sponsored motion of no confidence in  Ramaphosa’s Cabinet on Wednesday. 

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