Give Mbete space to make secret ballot decision - Parliament

2017-07-21 20:25
Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete. (Denis Farrell, AP File)

Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete. (Denis Farrell, AP File)

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2017-07-21 14:55

EFF leader Julius Malema says the party has already prepared legal papers to interdict National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, should she refuse to allow a secret ballot for the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete must be given time to make a rational decision on whether or not to use a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, Parliament said on Friday.

She had responded to the Democratic Alliance's "demand" that she make her decision public by the end of this week, by saying she would do so before the motion on August 8, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

The Constitutional Court had not given her a date by which she had to make her decision known, he said.

The court said she had the discretion to decide whether the vote should be secret or not, and that her decision should not be arbitrary, but meet the test of rationality, Mothapo said.

The matter therefore required careful consideration. Mbete appealed to all parties to afford her office the necessary space to make an appropriate decision.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen on Monday pressed Mbete to make her decision known this week.

"It is our belief that there is no reason why the Speaker cannot apply her mind and duly communicate her decision on the secret ballot by close of business this Friday, 21 July, instead of waiting until a day or two before the vote, as Mbete suggested in a recent interview," Steenhuisen had said.

Also read: Mbete wants to have her cake and eat it - Steenhuisen

The Economic Freedom Fighters told News24 on Friday that they have already prepared legal papers to interdict Mbete should she refuse to allow a secret ballot for the August 8 motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

The Constitutional Court ruled on June 22 that Mbete had the constitutional power to prescribe that voting in a motion of no confidence in the president could be conducted by secret ballot.

In a statement last Sunday, Parliament said Mbete had received submissions from nine of the 13 political parties about the appropriate voting procedure for the motion.

Both the African National Congress and the DA said they would abide by Mbete's decision, while the rest of the nine preferred a secret ballot.

In a statement on July 13, opposition parties said Mbete should not preside over the debate, due to a conflict of interest between her role as ANC national chairperson and Speaker.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  john steenhuisen  |  baleka mbete  |  cape town  |  parliament 2017

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