The East African 7 August 2017
South Africa’s Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete has announced that Tuesday’s motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will be done via a secret ballot.
President Zuma faces his eighth motion of no confidence and, for the first time, the method of voting will be a secret ballot.
The decision comes after opposition parties went to the Constitutional Court seeking to have Ms Mbete accede to their calls for a secret ballot.
The Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, African Christian Democratic Party and some members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), as well as the South African Communist Party (SACP), had indicated that they would vote against President Zuma.
Ms Mbete told journalists on Monday that she had taken all due consideration before deciding to conduct the vote in secret.
“I therefore determine that voting on the motion of no confidence in the President on August 8 will be by secret ballot,” she said.
Push for ouster
The decision has been welcomed by the Democratic Alliance whose leader Mmusi Maimane called on MPs from the ANC to use their vote to oust President Zuma.
“ANC MPs now have no excuse. They must use their vote tomorrow to stand up to grand corruption and vote to remove Jacob Zuma as President,” he said.
The ANC also welcomed the decision, but said they have no doubt that this “frivolous motion which has been hyped up by opposition parties as some sort of Damascus moment” will fail like the previous seven.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu reiterated that the ruling party will vote against this motion.
“We will not vote with the opposition to collapse our democratically elected government,” said Mr Mthembu.
He rubbished a list that has been circulating on social media purporting to have 95 ANC MPs who will vote in favour of this motion.
“This list is nothing but fake news to the extent that some of the people on it have long left Parliament including comrade Joyce Moloi-Moropa. Another member included on the list that we buried this past week is comrade Trevor Bonhomme. This shows the utter desperation of our detractors,” he said.
The call for the eighth motion of no confidence in President Zuma’s came after he reshuffled his Cabinet on March 30 – a move that saw then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas sacked.
The reshuffle was followed by the economy being downgraded to ‘junk status’.
Meanwhile, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) has threatened the Speaker with legal action for overlooking their calls to replace their only MP Luthando Mbinda in time for Tuesday’s debate.
Mr Mbinda was expelled from the party in June for alleged misconduct, and the party has made it clear to Ms Mbete they do not want to be represented by him.