Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
31 Mar 2021
10:04 am

ATM to appeal high court ruling on secret ballot

Thapelo Lekabe

The Western Cape High Court on Friday dismissed ATM’s review application with costs.

African Transformation Movement president Vuyolwethu Zungula. Picture: Twitter

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) will approach the Western Cape High Court for leave to appeal its dismissal of the party’s application to review and set aside Parliament’s decision to refuse its request to hold a motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa by way of a secret ballot.

On Friday, the high court dismissed ATM’s application with costs after it ruled that National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise’s decision not to grant the party’s request in November last year was unimpeachable and sound.

“The ATM has since filed papers of leave to appeal the decision of the Western Cape High Court,” said ATM spokesperson Sibusiso Mncwabe in a statement released on Tuesday evening.

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“Whereas we are confident and believe that our appeal would succeed at the Supreme Court of Appeal, it is however, not our intention to litigate through the media. We will therefore not discuss the grounds upon which the appeal is based because the matter is now subjudice [sic],” Mncwabe said.

The ATM first tabled a motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa in February 2020 after accusing the president of mismanaging the economy and failing to tackle corruption and crime, among other issues.

Party leader Vuyolwethu Zungula argued that a secret ballot was necessary due to fears of reprisals on MPs who wanted to vote against their party’s position on the no-confidence motion.

In rejecting the ATM’s request, Modise cited Section 1(d) of the Constitution which states openness as “a fundamental principle for our democracy”. She also said the party “had not offered any evidence of a highly charged atmosphere or intimidation of any members in the motivation for their request”.

Mncwabe said this month’s vote in the National Assembly on the establishment of an inquiry into Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office was an example of why the secret ballot was necessary. About 62 ANC MPs did not take part in the vote in the House.

“This example vindicates the ATM that an open ballot in such crucial decisions undermines the required freedom of members of Parliament to vote with their conscience in line with their oath of office,” Mncwabe said.

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