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Despite witch-hunt for rogue ANC MPs, secret ballot was secret: Parliament

Aug 16, 2017
Despite witch-hunt for rogue ANC MPs, secret ballot was secret: Parliament

While a witch-hunt is underway in the African National Congress (ANC) to find and punish its Members of Parliament, who voted with opposition parties to have President Jacob Zuma removed as president during a vote of no confidence that took place last week, the National Assembly on Wednesday assured the nation that the secret ballot that took place that day was indeed secret.

President Zuma survived that motion of no confidence, the eighth in his eight years as President, albeit by a slim margin.

According to the final tally, 198 MPs voted to keep President Zuma in his position, as he concludes his terms both as President of the country and the African National Congress (ANC), while 177 voted to kick him out. The result shows that nearly 30 ANC MPs voted for Zuma to be removed.

A majority of 201 votes was required for the motion of confidence, which was brought about by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to succeed.

Since then, there have been calls for the party to find and "discipline" those, who voted with the opposition.

"Parliament notes public debate regarding how certain MPs voted during the secret ballot to consider the motion of no confidence in the President on 8 August," said Parliamentary spokeperson, Moloto Mothapo.

"Parliament wishes to reaffirm that all the necessary measures were put in place to ensure that the integrity of the secret ballot is not compromised, thereby making the identity of the voter impossible to trace."

Mothapo said that the only printing on the ballot papers was an authentication stamp and simple question with a choice of three options against which to make a mark: No, Yes or Abstain.

"To further ensure maximum secrecy of the process, no gadgets were permitted in the voting booth, photojournalists with zoom lens cameras were requested to vacate the gallery and chamber broadcast camera controllers were ordered not to focus on voting booths," he said.

"The ballot boxes were then stored in archive boxes under lock and key and may only be opened by order of the National Assembly Speaker or a court of law.

"The rigorous confidentiality measures regarding the Motion of No Confidence were endorsed by all parties and are similar to those employed in the election of the President and Presiding Officers since 1994."