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ConCourt rules secret ballot permissible in Zuma no confidence vote

Jun 22, 2017
ConCourt rules secret ballot permissible in Zuma no confidence vote

After the Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the matter of a secret ballot in a motion of no confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma can be prescribed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that it has written to the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, with a request for a DA-sponsored Motion of No Confidence debate to be scheduled at the earliest available opportunity.

Opposition parties had argued that only a secret ballot will ensure that everyone - including disgruntled MPs in African National Congress (ANC), will be able to vote without the fear of reprisals from those, who are against the removal of Zuma.

However, Zuma and Mbete challenged the application, which was brought before the court by the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM), saying the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, does not provide for a secret ballot in Parliament.

Delivering the judgement, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Mogoeng Mogoeng, said Mbete as the Speaker does have power to issue a secret vote.

"Regardless of today’s ruling by the Constitutional Court, the Democratic Alliance’s vote in the upcoming Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be no secret. The DA will vote to fire Jacob Zuma - and we call on every other Member of Parliament, from all political parties, to do the same," said DA leader, Mmusi Maimane

"The Motion of No Confidence in President Zuma is a pivotal moment for our country and its future. Jacob Zuma has abandoned the interests of the people, the economy, and South Africa, in favour of a kleptocratic Guptamocracy. We cannot allow this to continue any longer.

"For the sake of the country, it is important that Members of Parliament, regardless of political affiliation, come together and put South Africa first by voting to protect the Constitution and to end corruption. Public representatives in Parliament are accountable to the people – first and foremost."

Maimane said that the DA is calling on all political parties – particularly the ANC - "to allow their members to do what they know is right, and to vote Jacob Zuma out".

"The removal of Jacob Zuma is the first step in stopping the ANC that is destroying our country and its future," he added.

Calls for President Zuma to resign over alleged corruption and bad leadership have increased recently following his abrupt firing of former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his Deputy , former Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development, Mcebisi Jonas, leading to two credit rating downgrades.  

The actual debate on the motion of no confidence vote had to be postponed last month to allow for the court application to be finalised.