Constitutional Court to rule on motion of no confidence secret ballot

The Constitutional Court. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24
The Constitutional Court. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24

The Constitutional Court will today make its ruling on the United Democratic Movement’s application to force National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to conduct the vote of no confidence on President Jacob Zuma as a secret ballot.

Political parties were due to debate a motion of no confidence on Zuma on April 18 but the UDM, Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance asked for a postponement after the Constitutional Court allowed the UDM direct access to argue its case that MPs be allowed to vote in the motion by secret ballot.

In its arguments in the Constitutional Court on May 15, the UDM’s legal representative Dali Mpofu said all South Africans wanted was to know that the members of Parliament who had been elected to represent them were voting with integrity, and that a secret vote would ensure that.

Mpofu argued that Mbete had failed to hold the executive to power after receiving a request to table the motion of no confidence in a letter addressed to her in April, as she was obligated to do.

The opposition asked Mbete to schedule the vote of no confidence in Zuma after his controversial Cabinet reshuffle at the end of March, that saw Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan axed.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa had argued that Zuma’s reshuffle led to two ratings agencies downgrading the country’s debt to junk status. In addition, he said MPs had been threatened with losing their seats and with violence if they voted against him.

Mbete previously said the UDM’s application had no merit and it did not fall within the court’s exclusive jurisdiction.

She said if the court found she had the power to order a motion of no confidence via secret ballot, she would act in accordance with its ruling.

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