Ball in Mbete’s court on secret ballot
THE Constitutional Court has thrown the ball back in Baleka Mbete’s court for her to decide as the Speaker of Parliament, whether a secret ballot can be used for the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
I am not convinced at all that Mbete was telling the truth when she said that she did not have the powers to allow for the use of a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence in Zuma.
She was just playing tactics and she thought the opposition parties would just surrender and not take the matter forward in a legal way. She was mistaken.
The ruling made by the Constitutional Court is a well-balanced one.
The judgment itself proves that there is a separation of powers and that the judiciary has limitations and boundary lines on its functions and powers
Furthermore, the judgment itself gives more credit to the judiciary and it also serves as justification that the courts don’t do the work of Parliament, but they do advise on the best interpretation of the laws and procedures.
It would have been a great blow if the Constitutional Court had ordered the Speaker to allow the secret ballot to be used against Zuma. Fortunately, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and his team appear not only to be professional lawyers, but also people of the highest degree of integrity.
It was astonishing when Zuma responded on this matter in Parliament on Thursday. He questioned why a secret ballot method must be used this time.
He was adamant that the modus operandi of the motion of no confidence in him must remain as such, without applying the use of the secret ballot method.
My political analysis is that Zuma is opposed to the use of a secret ballot because he is fully aware that he is not going to survive once it is granted. What he did can be seen as a sign that he himself does not trust his ANC comrades in Parliament.
It was also in figurative language, particularly to Mbete as the Speaker, that she should never think of deciding on a secret ballot method.
The opposition parties are happy about the ruling of the Constitutional Court on this matter. The representatives of these parties even said they view the ruling as a victory on their side.
Nevertheless, their joy and sensation can turn to be a disappointment at a later stage.
The Constitutional Court did not order the Speaker to grant the use of a secret ballot against Zuma. Instead, the court has corrected the Speaker since she was mistaken when she claimed that she does not have the powers to grant the use of a secret ballot, when she in fact does have the constitutional powers to do so.
I don’t see a situation whereby Mbete can dance to the tune of the opposition parties and grant them the use of a secret ballot for the motion of no confidence in Zuma.
Mbete is the national chairperson of the ANC and she is also one of the ANC’s top six and for that matter, she will never do anything that will disadvantage Zuma and the ANC, especially as she is known to be one of Zuma’s loyalists.
The opposition parties have already begun with the process of requesting for the parliamentary session to be scheduled in which another motion of no confidence in Zuma will be held. Obviously, the opposition parties will confidently push for the use of a secret ballot.
I am also wondering what Mbete’s reasons will be, as the Speaker, to not allow the use of a secret ballot this time, since her previous reason not to do so was set aside by the Constitutional Court.
Mbete cannot, however, decide alone on this matter, and the decision that she is going to apply in Parliament on which method is to be used in the motion of no confidence in Zuma, is surely going to be the decision from Luthuli House.
The opposition parties will once more engage the court on the rationale behind Mbete not granting a secret ballot. Temba, Hammanskraal
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‘SHE WASN’T TRUTHFUL’: Speaker Baleka Mbete claimed she doesn’t have the powers to call for a secret ballot on Zuma, but the Constitutional Court has ruled that she does.