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