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By Citizen Reporter


It will be no secret if MPs value SA

The secret ballot should, theoretically, make the vote a lot closer than it would have been.

We didn’t see that coming, did we? National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete took most of the country by surprise yesterday when she announced that today’s vote on a no-confidence motion on Jacob Zuma would take place in secret.

It was welcomed by many, who believe the guarantee of anonymity for MPs could persuade those within the ANC who are opposed to Zuma to join other parliamentarians in trying to oust him as president.

But the secret ballot will, because of its very nature, not allow us to see those people who are happy that Zuma continues in his position, despite the tsunami of allegations and evidence of state capture.

The secret ballot should, theoretically, make the vote a lot closer than it would have been.

If Zuma loses, it could usher in a radical change in our politics, with Mbete herself stepping into the role of president for 30 days until parliament can meet to elect a successor to Zuma.

Did that calculation play any role in Mbete’s surprise decision, we wonder. Whatever Mbete’s motivations, the reality is that today’s vote will be the most critical in South African history after the 1994 freedom elections.

Whichever way the decision goes – and one would have to be very brave to bet against Zuma, because he is the arch-survivor – our country’s course will be charted for years to come.

Will a strengthened opposition help bring the ANC back to where it was and put an end to corruption and state capture? Or will that impetus come from within the ANC’s own ranks?

What is certain is that, secret vote notwithstanding, we, as the citizens of South Africa will know, once and for all, whether our elected representatives put us and our country’s constitution ahead of the interests of a political party.

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African National Congress (ANC) Baleka Mbete

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