SOUTH AFRICA: SPEAKER SAYS YES TO VOTE BY SECRET BALLOT IN MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE AGAINST PRESIDENT

CAPE TOWN, Aug 8 (NNN-SA NEWS) — The Speaker of South Africa’s National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, has announced that voting on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be debated Tuesday will be carried out by a secret ballot.

Briefing journalists at the Chamber of Good Hope in Parliament here Monday, she said she arrived at her decision after weighing a number of factors.

She said that while the electorate had a right to know how their representatives vote in the house, she also had to consider the environment in which MPs would vote, also taking their security into consideration. The decision, she said, was coupled with ensuring a spirit of transparency.

This decision is therefore in the best interest of the country. The Speaker is required to guard the procedure of this House and to ensure that the outcome of this very important vote is credible. The Speaker must do this without fear or favour. It is with that in mind that this decision is also about putting the resilience of our democratic institution to test,” she added.

Having considered all the factors, and mindful of the fact that this decision is not setting a precedent, I determined that voting on the motion of no confidence in the President on 8 August 2017 will be by secret ballot.”

This announcement comes after Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ruled in June that the Speaker has the constitutional authority to determine if motions of no confidence should be conducted by way of a secret ballot or not.

At that time, Parliament issued a statement stressing that it would abide by the court order.

Parliament also said at that time that as Speaker of the National Assembly, the Speaker had no personal or in-principle opposition to the use of a secret ballot in a vote of no confidence in the President.

The court decision stemmed from an application by the opposition party, the United Democratic Movement, asking the country’s highest court to give Parliament the go-ahead to allow Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote in secret in a proposed motion of no confidence against President Zuma.

On Monday, the Speaker said it was her duty to exercise caution when she applies her mind on the method of voting, considering the clarity provided by the Constitutional Court. She said the decision to grant the secret ballot on the no confidence vote was in the best interest of the country.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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