Ball in Mbete’s court on se­cret bal­lot

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Rev Maudu Morudu

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


‘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.

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