The Democratic Alliance (DA) has introduced a draft piece of legislation to prevent instability at provincial legislatures and national parliament should there be coalition governments after next year’s elections.
The Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill, introduced by Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube, seeks to limit the number of motions of no-confidence in the President or Cabinet.
The bill has been inspired by the chaos at local government level where mayors and others are changed frequently depending on which parties are in agreement at the time.
But not everyone is in support, as others say the party is jumping the gun.
Last week, during his question and answer session in the National Council of Provinces, Deputy President Paul Mashatile agreed that the instability caused by coalitions needs to be faced head-on.
“I’m saying that we are now in a situation where we realise that this thing is such a reality in our country. At the moment you have about 81 hung municipalities. So, this has become so real that if we don’t develop rules that guide all of us, we are going to have chaos as we have seen in some areas and different municipalities,” added Mashatile.
Gwarube’s proposed constitutional amendment seeks to address precisely that.
“With every mayor, with every motion of no confidence, with every mayoral team, we have seen glaring neglect of the people who look to government for services. Rubbish is not collected, traffic lights do not work, crime has risen to unprecedented levels…Motions of no confidence have been abused for political reasons. We have seen people being removed from office due to cheque-book politics and not on constitutional grounds, which is what this bill seeks to do.”
Not everyone thinks this is a good idea though.
Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says the DA seeks to take away parties’ constitutional rights.
Emam Shaik of the National Freedom Party (NFP) says the proposed constitutional amendments will mean very little if they don’t keep politicians from dispensing patronage at all spheres of government.
VIDEO | Political Analyst, Dr Ntsikelelo Breakfast, weighs in on the issue of government coalitions in South Africa: