Yadhana Jadoo
2 minute read
23 Jun 2017
6:45 am

#SecretBallot: A win-win for ANC MPs, analysts say

Yadhana Jadoo

Commentators argue that those who want Zuma out will feel less guilt if they can do so secretly.


The decision to hold a secret ballot during a motion of no confidence on President Jacob Zuma is in the hands of National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.

But the ANC will probably close ranks to ensure party unity.

The ruling party is split into factions for and against Zuma.

“From a political point of view, if the ANC caucus wants to wait until the elective conference in December to sort out leadership matters, and if the speaker is convinced the ANC caucus doesn’t want to create a crisis on a maverick issue, any vote – in secret or public – is likely to reinforce the cohesiveness of the party, even though people [within the ANC] are doubtful of Jacob Zuma,” said political analyst Daniel Silke.

“The party will close ranks and is likely to … show that the matter will be settled through internal processes at the end of the year.”

He said if the matter were held in public, it may show Mbete is less certain of unity in the caucus.

“But if she is absolutely certain that no one will rock the boat, a case can be made to have a private vote, because the caucus will want to keep the integrity of the party.”

The judgment, he said, was well considered, reasonable and reinforced the role of the Constitutional Court in South Africa’s political system. It left it to Mbete to settle the matter in parliament, rather than being prescribed to by the court and left the door open for a variety of scenarios.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga agreed the judgment was solid and had additionally made it “very difficult for the speaker to have the motion in secret”.

“She has to make a reasonable decision. Although it depends on her, the court also said that her decision cannot be based on the interests of her party, but in the interests of the people. She has to provide a compelling reason why she is saying no to a secret vote.”

But Mathekga predicted she would not allow for the vote to be held in secret, with the ANC attacking the situation on two fronts: the Zuma faction will resent being taken to court “but they will also say that the attempt by opposition parties has failed by saying that the speaker is not answerable to the court. So, it’s a win-win for Zuma’s people.

“And it’s also a win for those in the ANC who want Zuma out, because for them there will be less guilt if they were to vote in support of this motion.” – news@citizen.co.za