A small South African opposition party championing the first motion of no-confidence against President Cyril Ramaphosa requested a delay on Thursday, only hours before the debate was due to begin.
Nearly three years after succeeding scandal-tainted Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa is facing mounting hostility from factions within his ruling ANC party and opposition groups affiliated to his political enemies.
He however still enjoys widespread support and respect in the party and outside.
In a statement, parliament said National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise had received a letter, “asking for a postponement of the motion of no confidence in the president, scheduled for consideration by the house this afternoon.”
“The speaker will react to the request in due course,” it said.
The African Transformation Movement (ATM), which has just two seats in the 400-member National Assembly, submitted a request for the unprecedented debate and vote against Ramaphosa in February.
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It was only last week that its request secured approval.
But hours before the motion was set to be discussed and voted on, the party sought a delay.
The ATM had also gone to court to force the use of a secret ballot during the vote, but hearing was delayed to February 4.
A no-confidence vote requires a simple majority of 201 votes to pass, but Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) holds 230 seats, and the motion stands little chance of success.
Formed in 2018 after ex-president Jacob Zuma’s forced resignation, ATM alleged that Ramaphosa is unfit to hold office.
Ramaphosa became president in February 2018 after Zuma was forced to step down amid growing corruption scandals. The following year he won a popular mandate following general elections.