EFF extends no confidence deadline, chief whips to meet

Cape Town – The EFF has extended its deadline to National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete for a decision on the House hearing the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to Tuesday at 13:00.

Their initial deadline was 10:00, and EFF leader Julius Malema said the party would go to court if this deadline is not met.

Shortly after 10:00 the EFF tweeted from its official account: "The Speaker of National Assembly has responded to EFF saying she needs to consult Majority Party Chief Whip & Leader of Government Business; this she can only do so today. EFF has thus extended the deadline to 13h00 for Court action on Motion of No Confidence scheduling this week."

The motion is scheduled for February 22, but opposition parties agreed that they want it heard this week. They also said on Monday that they will bring a motion to dissolve the National Assembly once the motion of no confidence is heard.

On Monday, Parliament said in a statement that Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Lechesa Tsenoli, on behalf of Mbete, responded to the EFF's request.

"In the letter to Mr Malema and the attorneys of the EFF, Ms Mbete said she was currently consulting on the request to reschedule the motion and would revert after this. The Rules of the National Assembly entailed consultation with relevant structures, including the Chief Whip of the Majority Party and the Leader of Government Business," the statement said.

Mbete originally scheduled the motion for February 22. This was after consulting with the Chief Whip of the ANC and the leader of government business and obtaining confirmation for the February 22 scheduling from the National Assembly Programme Committee.

Mbete said she was currently consulting on the request and would revert to Malema.

Meanwhile, an urgent meeting for the chief whips of all the parties in Parliament has been scheduled for Wednesday at 08:00.

"Dear Hon Members. In light of the recent developments the Chief Whip of the Majority Party [Jackson Mthembu] respectfully requests that members attend the meeting of the Chief Whips Forum of Wednesday, 14 February, at 08:00," reads the alert.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen tweeted: "Chief Whips Forum meeting set for tomorrow morning at 8am. Hopefully our Valentine’s Day present will be that we will finally have some clarity on #Zexit!".

ANC caucus spokesperson Nonceba Mhlauli also confirmed on Tuesday morning that the ANC caucus is expected to meet at 10:00, following the Chief Whips Forum.