The Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill has been tabled

legal practice
04 Jul 2023

The Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.

Parliament published the private member’s bill’s explanatory summary in Government Gazette 48294 in March 2023.

Drawn up by Siviwe Gwarube, a Democratic Alliance member of parliament, the proposed legislation aims to limit the number of motions of no confidence to be brought against a president or premier to only one motion per every 12 months from the date of the last motion.

“However, as a safety mechanism, the draft Bill will propose that additional motions of no confidence may be brought in exceptional circumstances such as a violation of the Constitution or law; misconduct or the inability to perform the functions of office.”

Gwarube points out that coalition governments will now be the “new norm” in South Africa.

“Political parties and Independent Candidates will have to come together and form workable coalitions for the good of South Africa.”

However, at municipal level, government is characterised by “continuous political attacks on coalition governments from opposition parties who politick smaller parties to cross the floor in exchange for valuable Mayoral Committee positions should the current government be successfully removed by way of a motion of no confidence”.

The practice is likely to work its way up to both “provincial and national governments when the time comes which will have a disastrous impact on the stability of the country”.

Gwarube declares that, therefore, a limitation needs to be placed on the number of motions of no confidence that can be brought either at national or provincial spheres within a certain time frame.

The bill aims to amend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, so as to:

  • limit the frequency in terms of which a motion of no confidence in the Cabinet or the President may be tabled;
  • provide for circumstances in terms of which a motion of no confidence in the Cabinet or the President will not be limited;
  • limit the frequency in terms of which a motion of no confidence in a province’s Executive Council or Premier may be tabled;
  • provide for circumstances in terms of which a motion of no confidence in a province’s Executive Council or Premier will not be limited; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services will process the bill.

The title of the bill has been corrected with the replacement of the word “Constitutional” by “Constitution”.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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