NEWS

March To ConCourt Over Secret Ballot Case

The UDM's bid to have the vote of no confidence motion against Zuma made secret heads to the ConCourt on Monday.

15/05/2017 10:53 SAST | Updated 15/05/2017 10:53 SAST
Mujahid Safodien / Getty Images
South African opposition party United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa looks on during a joint press conference with other leaders of opposition parties on April 20, 2017 at an Uncle Tom's Community Centre in Johannesburg.

Whether or not MPs can vote in a secret ballot is set to be argued before the highest court in the land on Monday, as the United Democratic Movement's (UDM) bid heads to the Constitutional Court.

According to Eye Witness News (EWN), opposition parties will march from Mary Fitzgerald Square to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on Monday in support of the bid.

The DA reportedly asked the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to schedule a motion of no confidence in the president after he reshuffled his cabinet. It will be the fifth motion of no confidence debate to be held in Parliament against President Jacob Zuma.

The debate was postponed to await the outcome of the court case brought by the UDM.

EWN reported that the UDM will argue that the secret ballot is an essential democratic right. The president is also elected by secret ballot and so it follows that he should be able to be removed in the same way, the party says.

The UDM reportedly claims that ANC MPs are being intimidated to prevent them from voting with the opposition against Zuma. The President has denied the claims in court papers, but says that there is no constitutional mandate for the vote to be done in secret.

According to the Mail & Guardian, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said that the first duty of Parliament was to the Constitution and not political parties.

"A secret ballot enables them to carry out this duty without fear of reprisals and removals and enables them to stay true to their prescribed oath," he reportedly said.

According to News24, counsel for three different respondents including the Speaker, political parties and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution will argue on Monday.

Mbete reportedly argued in court papers that the application had no merit, and said she had no authority or discretion to grant the UDM's request.