Cope to take Speaker to court if bal­lot is not held in se­cret

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

COPE MP Wil­lie Madisha has warned Speaker Baleka Mbete that she will again be taken to court if she does not agree to a se­cret bal­lot in the mo­tion of no-con­fi­dence against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma on Au­gust 8.

This is the lat­est salvo in a fiercely de­bated saga in­volv­ing all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

The Con­sti­tu­tional Court ruled last month that the Speaker has the power to de­cide how vot­ing should pro­ceed.

Although the ANC par­lia­men­tary cau­cus has com­mit­ted its MPs to vot­ing ac­cord­ing to its chief whip’s in­struc­tions – against the mo­tion – not all its MPs are happy to do this.

Out­spo­ken KwaZulu-Natal MP Dr Makhosi Khoza, who has been forth­right in say­ing she wants Zuma out, has writ­ten to Mbete ask­ing her to agree to a se­cret bal­lot.

At the week­end, she said Mbete had not replied to her re­quest.

Mbete has played her cards close to her chest. She has given par­ties un­til Fri­day to make sub­mis­sions on their pre­ferred method of vot­ing to en­able her to make a new de­ci­sion on the mo­tion.

Speak­ing on the side­lines of the ANC pol­icy con­fer­ence last week, Mbete said law­mak­ers should toe the party line when vot­ing. But this has an­gered Madisha.

He ac­cused Mbete of push­ing an agenda of the gov­ern­ing party.

“She is do­ing ex­actly what the ANC is do­ing. She is the chair­per­son of the ANC and all she is do­ing is pro­tect­ing the ANC,” he said.

The ANC has de­cided that its MPs will not vote with the op­po­si­tion against Zuma.

The for­mer trade union­ist said Mbete’s state­ments showed she was serv­ing her party and that she should not have been the Speaker.

“She has said ANC mem­bers must vote for Zuma,” Madisha said. “She is not sup­posed to be where she is, as the Speaker. We must have some­one in this po­si­tion who is neu­tral.”

He warned that Mbete faced re­newed le­gal ac­tion if she de­cided against a se­cret bal­lot.

“We will force her to de­cide on a se­cret bal­lot. We will go to court like we’ve done be­fore. We went to court to en­able this (se­cret bal­lot) to take place,” Madisha said.

“She is try­ing to find a way where peo­ple don’t get what they should get,” he said. “She must do what she is sup­posed to do.”

Madisha said ANC MPs should be af­forded an op­por­tu­nity to cast their bal­lots in se­cret.

“A num­ber of ANC MPs have spo­ken to us. They are not happy with what this man, the pres­i­dent, is do­ing,” he said.

“There­fore, ev­ery­one should be given a chance to vote in se­cret. If they are given this chance, they will hap­pily vote in favour of the mo­tion,” he pre­dicted. She (Mbete) is sup­posed to be neu­tral, but she is not.”

Madisha said he sym­pa­thised with his for­mer col­leagues who are un­happy with Zuma, who he linked with cor­rupt prac­tices.

“They have risen to say ‘we can’t al­low that’. Those of us who were with that or­gan­i­sa­tion for three decades know what they are go­ing through,” he said

Madisha, who backed for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki, was among the Zuma crit­ics who left the ANC to form a new party, the Congress of the Peo­ple.

WATCH­ING HER: Wil­lie Madisha

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