Zuma motion of no confidence will be done through a secret ballot

National Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete. (Paul Herman, News24)
National Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete. (Paul Herman, News24)

Cape Town – The National Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete has announced that the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be done through a secret ballot on Tuesday.

This comes after opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and United Democratic Movement, made numerous unsuccessful calls for the speaker to announce her decision in advance so to allow them enough time to deliberate on a way forward. 

From requesting a meeting with the speaker to giving her an ultimatum, the DA demanded that she make her decision on the secret ballot by 09:00 on Saturday - this, also, to no avail.

Mbete only announced on Sunday evening that she'd make her decision public on Monday afternoon, just a day before the sitting. 

Meanwhile, in an interview with News24 in July, EFF leader Julius Malema threatened that, should Mbete's decision be that the motion will be held through an open vote, the party would take the matter to court immediately.

The EFF also accused Mbete of deliberately delaying the announcement of her decision so opposition parties would have insufficient time to legally respond to the decision.

"We'll take her to court. She has to give rational reasons.

"Papers are ready. The day she says 'it's open' [vote]; when she gives us that letter, we are not going to read the whole thing, we'll read the conclusion. We are going to exchange the letters.

"We know she's going to do it just on the eve. That's how criminal they are. If they believed in what they were saying; if they believe their decisions were rational - let them give us reasons way in advance.

"But because they are thugs, they run the state like a mafia state. They are going to give us reasons on the eve, hoping that we won't rush to court."

Mbete said in June that the decision on whether or not to use a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence must be rational, and therefore required careful consideration.

She also said the Constitutional Court had not given her a date by which she had to make her decision known.

The Constitutional Court ruled in June that Mbete does has the constitutional power to decide whether or not to hold a secret ballot during the motion, and must make a "rational" decision on whether or not to allow MPs to vote by secret ballot.

Delivering his judgment, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said: "There must always be proper and rational basis for whatever choice the speaker makes in the exercise of the constitutional power to determine the voting procedure."

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