News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
1 minute read
23 Jun 2017
5:05 am

#SecretBallot: Civil society calls on Mbete to make a ‘rational’ decision

Yadhana Jadoo

Outa says a secret ballot protects MPs from being bullied to vote in Zuma’s favour.

Baleka Mbete in Parliament (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Denvor de Wee)

Civil society organisations are calling for members of parliament to act with sound conscience should National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete allow a secret ballot for the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

In welcoming the Constitutional Court’s decision that a secret ballot is permissible, organisations called on Mbete to make a rational decision on the matter.

Corruption Watch said the court judgment showed Mbete had the power to authorise a no-confidence vote by secret ballot, making it possible for “MPs to act with their consciences and to hold elected leaders to account in the interests of the public”.

The anti-corruption watchdog’s director David Lewis said: “The ball is now firmly in the speaker’s court. The Constitutional Court has not only found that the decision whether to hold a secret ballot or not belongs to her, it has also emphasised that the decision must be rational and it has clearly spelt out the factors the speaker should consider when she makes this critical decision.

“All these factors point in the direction of a secret ballot.”

Corruption Watch called upon Mbete to act in the interests of the people and show her commitment to advancing the Constitution.

“To this end, Corruption Watch urges the speaker to set a date promptly for the secret ballot vote in a genuine effort to uphold accountability.”

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said a secret ballot protected MPs from being bullied to vote in Zuma’s favour.

“We now trust the speaker will announce that the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma should be held in secret,” Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said.