United Democratic Movement (UDM) says the party is confident that the Constitutional Court will rule in the party’s favour in its call for a secret ballot vote on a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.
On Wednesday the South African Constitutional Court announced that the ruling over secret ballot vote will be heard on Thursday morning at 9: Am.
The UDM approached the court last month, asking it to give Parliament a verdict to vote in secret during a proposed motion of no confidence against Zuma.
The call for a secret ballot vote has been endorsed by the opposition parties including the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) and the main opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA).
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says that he doesn’t expect the court to instruct Parliament to conduct a secret ballot but only wants it to make a determination on whether National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has the power to arrange this.
“If the court allows for a certain act or section to have the secret ballot then we will call for a meeting of the programming committee of Parliament and affect the judgment.”
This follows President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle, then later a call for secret ballot vote arises which was postponed by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on the request of opposition parties to wait on the outcome of the court’s decision.
According to EWN Mbete maintained that it is not in her power to grant UDM permission to its plea for a secret ballot vote, saying the rules of parliament do not offer for demand.
But the UDM relied on the National Assembly Rule 103 and 104, pointing out that the rules are clear that the Speaker has the discretion to determine the voting procedure to be followed for any vote.
The UDM say that Mbete failed in her constitutional obligation to use that discretion to arrange for secret voting.
It was also argued that an open ballot would render Parliament unable to hold the president accountable, with the Economic Freedom Fighters pointing out that MPs are entitled to vote according to their conscience because their duty is to the electorate and the Constitution.
In a surprising turn, the president’s lawyer conceded that there was no downside to the secret ballot, while Mbete’s lawyers also conceded that the Speaker has the discretion to allow for a secret ballot.