Cape Town – If the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma goes ahead without a secret ballot, it will be up to outspoken ANC MPs to take a stand, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said on Friday.
"It will be important to see who among the 400 National Assembly members are loyal to the Constitution and the country as opposed to those who want to defend the indefensible," he told the National Press Club.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete still has to say if the vote in the motion, scheduled for Tuesday, will happen in secret.
"Her decision will be a Luthuli House decision. The fact that she is delaying speaks volumes."
If she decides against a secret ballot, opposition parties could take her decision on review, depending on her reasons. If the debate continues, Holomisa said they will be able to see which ANC MPs were "loyal to their personal financial interests", to ANC factional interests, or those of the country and its citizens.
"If voting happens in the open we would expect them to do the right thing and use the opportunity offered by the opposition to vote this man out if they say he is not a good president," he said, referring to MPs who had expressed a lack of confidence in Zuma.
Makhosi Khoza, former Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande had all called for Zuma to step down.
Holomisa said South Africans had long agreed that Zuma was no longer a legitimate leader.
He questioned the ANC’s claim that it was difficult to remove a sitting president, when it had recalled former president Thabo Mbeki.
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In a joint statement on Friday, opposition parties argued that the motion is not about removing the ANC from power. This is despite calls by the DA that if the motion succeeds, there should be an early election.
"The next election is in 2019, where the opposition will face the ruling party and this we accept, there can never be a shortcut removal of the ANC other than in 2019. We shall do nothing to upset the foundations of South Africa's legitimate political system whose next cycle of elections is in 2019," they said in a statement.
Opposition parties and civil society however on Wednesday agreed to march together against Zuma.
"This is the last push to stop a corrupt president from destroying our country," they said.
The coalition consists of the DA, EFF, Cope, UDM, IFP and PAC. They acknowledged that ousting Zuma would not solve all of South Africa’s problems, but would be the beginning of an urgently required national rebuilding project.
The opposition parties’ march would take place in Cape Town on Tuesday.
"This is the time to stand together as a nation," they said.