MBETE APPEALS FOR SPACE
TO MULL OVER VOTE
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