Opposition parties praise secret ballot decision

2017-08-07 21:10
Protestors taking part in the #UniteBehindCoalition march. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Protestors taking part in the #UniteBehindCoalition march. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Opposition political party leaders have lauded National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete's decision on the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma as a victory for democracy and South Africa.

With the voices of the participants in the #UniteBehind march drifting over the Parliamentary precinct, leaders from the DA, EFF, IFP, UDM, FF Plus, Cope and ACDP addressed the media in front of the bust of Nelson Mandela, which is located in front of the entrance to the National Assembly.

Read: Secret ballot in the best interests of country - Mbete

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said when his party asked for a secret ballot in April, he knew that Mbete had the ability and responsibility to make such a decision. 

"I hope all MPs will put South Africa first," said Holomisa, who described Tuesday's vote as "saving South Africa from a corrupt president". 

He said it was now time for public representatives to be honest about their oath of office.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said: "This is groundbreaking."

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the motion was an opportunity to turn South Africa in the right direction.

"This is an opportunity to remove corruption from the top of South Africa."

Maimane appealed to all MPs to place the interest of 58 million South Africans first.

"I don't think my vote is a secret," he added.

Image: Opposition leaders on their way to address the media after the announcement on the secret ballot for the vote of no confidence. (Jan Gerber, News24)

EFF leader Julius Malema said he welcomed the decision by Mbete who is referred to as the "incoming acting president" of South Africa.

"I think she (Mbete) realised she stood a good chance to be acting president for 30 days."

According to Malema, by deciding that the vote will be by secret ballot, Mbete broke away from the ANC-party line.

"So what stops an ordinary ANC MP when voting in secret?"

Malema is convinced enough ANC MPs will support the motion to remove Zuma.

AS IT HAPPENED: #SecretBallot for #NoConfidenceVote in Zuma

Less convinced was FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder, who said Mbete could have made her decision based on the certainty that enough ANC MPs will vote against the motion.

Nonetheless, he said the decision meant there was still hope.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said he was delighted that rationality prevailed. "Zuma let us down in a number of ways, it is time to vote him out."

He said Mbete's decision meant that ANC MPs now had nothing to fear.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh said the hard work to getting the country back on track is only now starting.

He said the opposition had requested a meeting with ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu to settle the procedure to be followed in the voting. 

"It is very important that we agree on the procedure."

READ: Voting Zuma out like 'throwing a nuclear bomb' at SA - Mthembu

Singh referred to Mthembu's comment that removing Zuma would be like throwing a "nuclear bomb" at the country. "Sometimes these bombs have a cleansing effect."

Mthembu said in a statement that the ANC caucus had always said they would support whatever decision Mbete took on this matter. 

"We have long stated that we are not adverse to a secret or open ballot," he said.

"We reiterate our stance that the ANC will vote against this motion. We will not vote with the opposition to collapse our democratically elected government." 

Read more on:    cope  |  parliament  |  da  |  ff plus  |  anc  |  acdp  |  udm  |  eff  |  ifp  |  baleka mbete  |  jackson mthembu  |  cape town

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