No-Confidence Motion: For now, it is still unclear whether the Constitutional Court will give those pushing for a secret ballot voting against President Jacob Zuma a nod or not.
On Monday, advocates representing various parties involved argued the case in the Constitutional court. And the major question the court faced was ‘does the Constitution allow, require or prohibit a secret ballot when it comes to motions of no confidence in the president?’.
What we know so far is that the drafters of the Constitution clearly stipulated that the president should be elected by secret ballot but they weren’t clear enough on his removal through a motion of confidence.
The secret ballot voting, tabled in ConCourt by the United Democratic Alliance (UDM) has since been criticized by pro-Zuma cadres and the party’s youth league.
The case, according to them is a clear example of the judiciary encroaching on the powers of the legislature, which is also the primary reason why the ANCYL in KZN staged an anti-judicial protest last week.
While the arguments lasted on Monday, it was crystal clear that the judges exhibited strong caution on the matter and avoided not to trespass on the functions of Parliament or prescribe to the National Assembly speaker how to act.
EFF advocate, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, argued that the no-confidence motion can ‘only’ take place effectively when a secret ballot is granted.
The IFP via its advocate, Anton Katz, buttressed that every ideal motion of no confidence are conducted by secret ballot, disclosing that their request for secret ballot had been severally turned down.
But, Maruma Moerane, representing the Speaker of the National Assembly, insisted that after a careful thought, the National Assembly ruled against the secret ballot voting.
Moerane added that the Constitution left the determination of voting procedures to the National Assembly and that this was stated clearly in a letter delivered to the UDM’s attorney.
However, the part that got many critics interested was the absence of the ANC representatives in the case. Regardless of the fact that ANC MPs are in the center of the saga, particularly the threats and possible risks they may face if the case fails to favour them.
UDM representative, Dali Mpofu pushed for the ConCourt to grant a secret ballot, stressing that those who would vote against the president and fail might be threatened.
“Public elections are held in secret to protect the voter from outside influences. When there is more than one candidate for president in the National Assembly, the Constitution says a secret ballot should be conducted. Why then should MPs vote openly when removing a president?” he argued.
While the ConCourt is yet to give the verdict, the ANCYL in eThekwini region has unmasked certain ANC MPs as those who will likely vote against President Jacob Zuma in Parliament.
The secret ballot ‘collaborators’ as named are:
- ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu
Mthembu has once spoken against President Zuma’s scandal-plagued government. He was among ANC NEC members that supported a no-confidence motion proposed by axed tourism minister Derek Hanekom last year. Since then, he appears to have lost the trust of most ANC members
- ANC MP Makhosi Khoza
Khoza is the freshest thorn in Zuma’s flesh. She became outspoken following Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle that saw Pravin Gordhan removed.
On Wednesday, the ANCYL vowed to stage a protest in front of her house in Hillcrest and to disgrace her on Thursday at a book launch organized by Durban political think tank, Xubera Institute for Research and Development. The league wants her to resign for ‘acting strangely’.
- Former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan
Since late 2016, Gordhan has continued to make headlines and it has been from one battle to another. He was caught in the web and finally ‘crippled’ by President Zuma in March when he reshuffled his cabinet.
For Gordhan, speaking against the ANC government isn’t new but his criticism swelled overnight after he was axed. He emerged the hero at Uncle Kathy’s funeral and memorial lectures, where he spoke out against Zuma, the ANC and his dismissal.
Buttressing their claims, eThekwini regional secretary Thinta Cibane said: “Khoza had made it clear how she would vote. There are others we don’t trust. We don’t trust Pravin Gordhan and Jackson Mthembu anymore. The ANC should remove people like them from Parliament with immediate effect. There are other untrustworthy party MPs, we do not believe they are enough to help the opposition to impeach Zuma.”
Apparently, while there are other ANC MPs who oppose Zuma’s continued leadership of the country and the ANC. Some of them might be influenced by the party line during the no-confidence motion voting. Others might like Zuma to stay on and get disciplined by the ANC and not opposition.
But the big question remains ‘is the ANC capable of acting against Zuma?’