NA­TIONAL Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete has ap­pealed to all par­ties to give her space to ap­ply her mind on whether to use a se­cret or open bal­lot next Tues­day in the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

This came as par­ties con­tin­ued to mount pres­sure on Mbete that she must de­cide soon on the se­cret bal­lot.

And, ANC chief whip Jack­son Mthembu also came out guns blaz­ing yes­ter­day against party MP Mondli Gun­gubele for tak­ing a tough stance that he will vote against Zuma.

Mthembu de­scribed Gun­gubele’s con­duct as the “worst form of ill-dis­ci­pline” and called for ac­tion against him by the ANC. Gun­gubele could not be reached for com­ment last night.

On the other hand, op­po­si­tion par­ties threat­ened to take Mbete to court if she does not al­low a se­cret bal­lot dur­ing the de­bate next week. Par­lia­ment’s spokesper­son Moloto Mothapo said the Speaker would make the de­ci­sion soon as di­rected by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

“The Speaker has ap­pealed to all par­ties to af­ford her the nec­es­sary space to make the de­ci­sion as per the in­struc­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court de­ci­sion, to ap­ply her mind that what­ever de­ci­sion she makes is ra­tio­nal.”

Mbete has been un­der pres­sure over the last few weeks with even ANC MP Makhosi Khoza writ­ing to her to al­low a se­cret bal­lot.

How­ever, the Speaker has not de­cided on whether MPs will vote us­ing a se­cret bal­lot or open bal­lot.

Yes­ter­day, ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said Gun­gubele’s con­duct was un­ac­cept­able.

“Ev­ery mem­ber of the ANC is a mem­ber of the party in a branch. The prov­ince must do what it needs to do. His be­hav­iour is un­ac­cept­able, sim­ple.” Man­tashe said the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee lekgotla did not dis­cuss whether Mbete should de­clare a se­cret bal­lot or not. “We agreed that ANC mem­bers will vote in terms of the de­ci­sion of the ANC.

“We are not a party of free agents. If we are a party of free agents then we have no party, we might as well dis­solve it.

“We are mem­bers of the ANC and we ex­e­cute the man­date of the ANC. If they have a con­science they should have dis­cov­ered that be­fore they were placed on an ANC list.” Man­tashe said the party was not plan­ning on what to do if the mo­tion against Zuma suc­ceeds. The ANC has said the mo­tion will not suc­ceed against Zuma.

Zuma even told Par­lia­ment in June this will be the eighth time he will be fac­ing a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence since he took of­fice.

He said he was con­fi­dent it will not suc­ceed again.

Dur­ing their court ap­pli­ca­tion, op­po­si­tion par­ties said they wanted to pro­tect ANC MPs who wanted to vote with their con­science.

But the ANC has in­sisted that it would not al­low its MPs to vote with the op­po­si­tion.

Mthembu’s spokesper­son Non­ceba Mh­lauli said ANC MPs wouldn’t vote with the op­po­si­tion.

“The ANC par­lia­men­tary cau­cus is ac­count­able to the ANC NEC. No ANC MP is a free agent. They are de­ploy­ees of the ANC in Par­lia­ment and take their direc­tive from the party, as is the case in all po­lit­i­cal par­ties in South Africa.”

Mbete is left with ex­actly one week to make a de­ci­sion.

EFF leader Julius Malema said if she didn’t al­low the se­cret bal­lot, they would run to court to in­ter­dict next Tues­day’s de­bate.

This will be an at­tempt to force Mbete to al­low the use of a se­cret bal­lot.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties have said a sub­stan­tial num­ber of ANC MPs could vote with them.

TIME PLEA: Baleka Mbete

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