PARLIAMENT, August 11 – The Economic Freedom Fighters on Thursday, said they would not support the Democratic Alliance’s motion for Parliament to be dissolved to prompt early elections, calling it disingenuous.
This comes after the United Democratic Movement also signalled it would not support the motion tabled by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen on Thursday.
The DA had said it expected other parties, in particular the EFF, to back the motion.
Instead EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi suggested that the main opposition party could collapse Parliament and force early elections simply by resigning all its seats.
“If the Democratic Alliance truly wants Parliament to be dissolved, all they need to do is to resign all their members, as well as their party from Parliament in line with Section 46 (1) of the Constitution which states that the “National Assembly consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 members,” Ndlozi said.
“Once the DA, which has 89 members, resigns, Parliament would not meet the constitutional requirement as per Section 46 and thus would dissolve.”
Steenhuisen said Ndlozi’s understanding of the relevant section was flawed, because any number of resignations would simply count as so many vacancies to fill, and would not force new elections.
“It will not have any effect on the legislature,” he said, adding that he was surprised but not perturbed by the EFF’s stance.
Steenhuisen and DA leader Mmusi Maimane had counted on the EFF’s backing in part because party leader Julius Malema had called for early elections earlier this year.
The DA said at that point however, it had not been feasible, because the Constitution only provides for it once three years had passed since the last elections.
President Jacob Zuma was returned to office for a second term by national elections in May 2014.
On Tuesday, he narrowly survived a vote of no confidence after at least 26 African National Congress MPs broke ranks to vote with the opposition. The DA said this was a victory in itself but since the majority of ruling party members shielded the president, the time had come to unseat the ANC.
“The ANC had a chance on Tuesday but showed that it cannot self-correct,” he said.
The opposition had presented a united front on Tuesday, with Malema and Maimane making a carefully co-ordinated plea to ANC MPs to turn their back on Zuma.