DA races to table motion of no confidence against WC legislature speaker

DA races to table motion of no confidence against WC legislature speaker
DA races to table motion of no confidence against WC legislature speaker

Africa-Press – South-Africa. The DA in the Western Cape says it’s made headway in filing a motion of no confidence in its speaker of the provincial legislature, Masizole Mnqasela.

It comes after Mnqasela’s disciplinary hearing wrapped up last week – after facing off with the party’s top brass over extravagant spending allegations. Subsequently, the party charged Mnqasela with misconduct and now are in the process of filling for a vote of no confidence to axe him from his position in the legislature.

The party said it has unanimously decided to proceed with a motion against its speaker in a bid to remove him from this position.

“All matters related to the house are governed by its Standing Rules, to which the DA caucus strictly adheres. In respect of the removal of Mr Mnqasela from the role of speaker, processes are under way,” said party spokesperson Richard Newton.

Newton said the process has started following a unanimous caucus agreement, after serious allegations were levelled against Mnqasela by whistleblowers.

He said:

Mnqasela was suspended from all DA-related party activities, pending an investigation related to fraud and excessive spending.

In May, whistleblowers handed over a mountain of evidence to Premier Alan Winde, which revealed Mnqasela’s travel and entertainment claims and apparent lavish spending while on official government business.

Mnqasela vehemently denied the allegations. After being charged with misconduct, he said, in a detailed statement, that the allegations levelled against him were influenced by a political agenda.

In a recent radio interview, Winde in his capacity as caucus leader, said tabling a motion of no confidence was the “last thing they wanted to do”.

“I believe in due processes, I believe in the rule of law, I believe in our constitution. When these serious allegations came to light, I informed the speaker of the matter and I said if he is guilty he needs to resign but if he is innocent those allegations must be proven because I have them, I have to make sure its handed over to the police. I told the speaker that he should step aside and he refused to do so,” Winde said.

But the DA is racing against time to table its motion speedily. The legislature has one ordinary sitting left for the year to take place in November. This would be the only opportunity that would allow the party to bring a motion of no confidence in the speaker.

If the party manages to bring the motion against the speaker, Mnqasela may seek legal advice to consider it. Mainly because the rules of the legislature do not make provision on how to remove the speaker. A special sitting cannot be considered because Mnqasela could simply reject it.

Responding to the party’s latest move, the office of the speaker told News24 that the party has not yet formally told Mnqasela about its intension to table a motion of no confidence against him.

His office said:

Asked whether the disciplinary hearings were stressful, through the office of the speaker, Mnqasela said: “It is certainly not a honeymoon”.

Political parties in the legislature have said they have also not been formally informed of the motion proposal.

ACDP provincial leader Ferlon Christians said that the DA’s decision to bring a motion of no confidence was an indication that they had lost confidence in their speaker.

“The speaker is there as a DA member and it is his own party recalling him. Irrespective of my view they have the numbers if their caucus is united,” he said.

GOOD Party MPL Shaun August said it was exactly how things transpired in 2018 when the DA brought a motion of no confidence in former Mayor Patricia de Lille.

“What we are seeing is a repetition of what transpired in 2018; the DA wants to use opposition parties as cannon fodder to further their factional battles to get rid of a prominent black leader. When, and if, the DA puts the evidence on the table via a report, will I only then apply my mind; in the absence of such a report the DA should commit to proper processes as instituted by the house,” he said.

August argued that the DA was applying double standards.

“Considering their double standards in that Deputy Speaker, Beverly Schafer, is also facing charges of alleged wrongdoing and there are findings against her to that effect, she remains largely untouched; one seriously questions the DA’s ability to not see colour when dealing with disciplinary charges against their preferred politicians. The question then arises is it because she belongs to a certain faction and is therefore shielded from alleged wrongdoing,” he said.

ANC MPL Khalid Sayed said the premier remains the weakest leader that the Western Cape has ever had and continues to undermine the provincial legislature.

“The DA has yet to announce its new chief whip but again, as with the replacement of Bonginkosi Madikizela and Albert Fritz, all the DA’s factions are circling for the post and have to be managed before such replacements can be announced. The strike against the speaker with the premier protecting the deputy speaker speaks to this merging of DA factions by weak Winde.”

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