Par­ties sub­mit se­cret bal­lot views

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

AS THE count­down con­tin­ues to the Au­gust 8 mo­tion of no con­fi­dence de­bate on Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, nine of 13 par­ties in Par­lia­ment have sub­mit­ted their views to the Speaker Baleka Mbete, on whether the pres­i­dent’s fu­ture should be de­ter­mined by a se­cret bal­lot.

The dead­line for sub­mis­sions was last Fri­day.

Par­lia­ment’s spokesper­son Moloto Mothapo con­firmed yes­ter­day that the ma­jor­ity of the par­ties said they wanted a se­cret bal­lot. The ball was now in Mbete’s court to make a de­ci­sion, he said.

That de­ci­sion will be made be­fore the mo­tion is de­bated on Au­gust 8. How­ever, he said he couldn’t give an ex­act date, as the Speaker “is still ap­ply­ing her mind” to the par­ties’ pro­pos­als.

“At the lapse of the dead­line, nine of the 13 par­ties rep­re­sented in the Na­tional Assem­bly had duly for­warded their views to the Speaker’s of­fice. They are the ANC, DA, EFF, IFP, Na­tional Free­dom Party, United Demo­cratic Move­ment, Free­dom Front Plus, African Chris­tian Demo­cratic Party and Cope,” said Mothapo.

“Both the ANC and DA have in­di­cated they will abide by the Speaker’s de­ci­sion, while the rest of the nine pre­fer a se­cret bal­lot,” he said.

James Selfe, the DA’s fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son, said: “Our po­si­tion is clear. The Speaker is aware of what the chief jus­tice said. Now it is up to her to make that de­ci­sion. She should not ex­pect the par­ties to make the de­ci­sion for her. If she comes up with a capri­cious de­ci­sion, we re­serve our right to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion.”

Mothapo said Mbete would con­sider her po­si­tion be­fore the date for the mo­tion.

Par­ties have, over the last few months, been fight­ing to get Mbete to con­duct a se­cret bal­lot on the mo­tion against Zuma. This led to the UDM mount­ing a chal­lenge in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

In a de­ci­sion that was praised across the board, the court put the ball back into Mbete’s court.

It ruled that it was well within Mbete’s pow­ers to make such a de­ci­sion – con­trary to her ear­lier ar­gu­ment that al­though she was not per­son­ally against a se­cret bal­lot, she did not have the con­sti­tu­tional pow­ers to make such a de­ci­sion.

Op­po­si­tion to Zuma’s pres­i­dency, which has been mount­ing for a long time, reached a crescendo since the pub­li­ca­tion of the Gupta emails and in­creas­ing ev­i­dence of what has be­come known as state cap­ture. This led to a se­ries of marches across the coun­try call­ing for Zuma to go.

The ANC has in­sisted its MPs will toe the party line when the vot­ing takes place next month.

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