Speaker Baleka Mbete allows secret ballot

National Assembly Speaker Ms Baleka Mbete addresses the media on the voting procedure to be followed, when the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is debated in the National Assembly on 8 August.

The speaker of the parliament, Baleka Mbete, announced the move to hold a secret ballot this afternoon, ending weeks of speculation for the eighth motion of no confidence against Zuma.

She acknowledged that the way the announcement was made was unprecedented - such announcements were usually made by press release, and she didn't take questions from journalists.

Zuma's critics wanted the vote to be anonymous in the hope that it would encourage ANC lawmakers to support his removal by shielding them from pressure from other party members.


In June‚ the Constitutional Court ruled that there was scope in the Parliamentary rules for a secret ballot‚ and ordered Mbete to make the decision. "It is time for public representatives to be faithful to their oath of office (upholding the Constitution)", he said, adding it was important to save South Africa from a corrupt president. We have long stated that we are not adverse to a secret or open ballot.

"Tomorrow is the beginnings of an opportunity", said one ANC lawmaker who declined to be named.

Party chief whip Jackson Mthembu said ousting Zuma would "have disastrous consequences that can only have a negative impact on the people of South Africa".

She said that as a loyal member of the ANC, the vote of no confidence was not "simple", and "retribution would be swift and costly".


While some opposition parties have started celebrating the awarding of a secret ballot, their festivity may be short lived if the ANC manages to close ranks and the opposition fails to unite fully. Almost all of the 149 opposition MPs have stated they will vote for Mr Zuma to be removed. That was what the ANC said in a statement reacting to Mbete's decision: that it remained confident in the discipline of its parliamentary caucus to "defeat this frivolous motion".

This motion is therefore in the interest of the Democratic Alliance and opposition forces and not in the interest of our country.

Some analysts said Zuma could still survive the vote.

"(African National Congress) MPs now have no excuse", DA leader Musi Maimane said.



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