DA’s stable coalition bills proceed to the next level, introduced in Parliament

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP – Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
23 Apr 2023 in News

Today marks an important milestone in the DA’s efforts to stabilise South Africa’s coalition governments. Following the publication of the first suite of Bills on the Government Gazette for public comment a few weeks ago, these Bills are now set to be introduced in Parliament. The two Bills ready for deliberation in Parliament are the Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill.

These two Bills seek to achieve stability in all spheres of government by limiting the number and the circumstances under which motions of no confidence can be moved in a mayor, premier or the president. While motions of no confidence are a crucial accountability mechanism, they are susceptible to abuse as we have seen at a local government level.

Limiting the frequency and placing clear grounds under which these can be moved and voted on, will see a level of stability that is needed for effective service delivery. Firewalling governments against this kind of disruption will serve citizens better than is currently the case.

While we seek to limit motions of no confidence to a year, there will be a safety net built in that will allow additional motions within this period providing for exceptional circumstances, such as a violation of the Constitution or law; misconduct or the inability to perform the functions of office. This is a much higher threshold for a motion of no confidence and forces the movers to base these in fact or in law.

Currently, coalition governments may be voted in, and pass a budget that they may never get to deliver against. It is impossible to hold these governments to account for good governance practices and services delivery if they change frequently, and often due to backroom deals that have no intention on serving the people which should always be the main priority of any government.

It is critical that Parliament is proactive in creating a legislative framework that would ensure governance stability and reliable service delivery.

These are important amendments to the Constitution and existing legislation as we head towards the 2024 National and Provincial Elections.

Additionally, a Bill seeking to amend the Municipal Structures Act and introduce electoral thresholds at a local government level has been gazetted in order to solicit constructive feedback and public comment. This the third of the four Bills part of this suite of legislation. It will also follow the same process as the two Bills above mentioned.

As we had committed last year, the DA will bring these pieces of legislation to the floor of Parliament so that we stabilize current and future coalition governments.

As law makers, nothing else is more important. The DA will continue to lobby various political parties in and outside of Parliament to support these legislative changes we seek to bring. South Africans are looking to their elected representatives for solutions to the coalition governments instability and service delivery throttling.