Former President Thabo Mbeki wants ANC MPs to exercise oversight over President Jacob Zuma during the motion of no confidence, scheduled to hold on Tuesday afternoon.
Speaking to reporters on the sideline of a voting district, where he is an AU observer in the Kenyan general elections, Mbeki urged ANC MPs to vote truthfully, without fear of being punished by the ruling party.
He reminded them of the need to put the constitution and country first before their party, adding that the reason Mbete allowed a secret ballot was to allow them to vote according to their conscience and the information they have.
“The Speaker of Parliament said that the Members of Parliament are allowed to cast a secret vote when they discuss this thing this afternoon.
She cited what the Constitutional Court had said that the parliamentarians have got the responsibility to exercise oversight over the Executive and this case they called upon to exercise oversight over the president republic, the head of government and head of state.
One hopes that those MPs will discharge that responsibility to make a proper assessment as to, do they have confidence in this president depending on what the president has been doing.
We all hope that they will vote honestly because you know the opinion in the country about what has been happening in the politics of South Africa.
I think those MPs must recall that they are representatives of the people and they must represent the people in terms of what they do this afternoon.
The long-awaited motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma will kick off in Parliament at 14:00 today.
In a closed-door meeting held on Tuesday morning, ANC caucus in Parliament was urged to toe the party line.
The MPs were reminded that they were elected to Parliament on a party ticket, and should, therefore, not support a vote of no confidence in the President or they would be sanctioned.
However, this long-held ‘tradition’ contradicts the Constitutional Court’s view on who MPs represent. Last month, while handing down his secret ballot judgment, the highest court’s Mogoeng held that MPs first and foremost represent the people and not their parties.
In his words, Chief Justice Mogoeng claimed, rather optimistically, that MPs were “elected through their parties to represent the people” to “enable the people to govern them, in terms of the Constitution”.
Be that as it may, at the heart of this debate is the question of whether ANC MPs will vote according to their conscience or according to party rule.
The ANC is currently a divided house, with several of the party’s 249 MPs publicly calling for Zuma to step down.
Only two of them – Dr Makhosi Khoza and Mondli Gungubele – have been able to voice out their dissatisfaction with the current administration publicly.
Our eyes and ears are itching for more on the motion of no confidence and we can’t wait to bring you reliable information on would-be losers and winners. Watch this space for updates.