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Speaker Baleka Mbete Has Pulled A Pontius Pilate On Both The Opposition Parties And The ANC

Mbete has pulled off a political move of epic proportions.

08/08/2017 10:09 SAST | Updated 08/08/2017 10:12 SAST
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (2nd R) celebrates his re-election as party President alongside newly-elected party Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (2nd L) and re-elected Chairperson Baleka Mbete (R) at the National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Bloemfontein December 18, 2012.

Baleka Mbete's decision that the motion of no confidence against President Zuma will be voted upon through a secret ballot, has allowed her to please both the opposition parties and the ANC, yet leaving the two camps in an awkward position.

For the ANC, Mbete has defied the party's call for the motion to be voted openly. However, she might have calculated that the ANC has had ample time to rally the caucus to vote against the motion, making the entire call for the motion to be voted on secretly a wasted effort by the opposition parties.

Ultimately, Parliament Speaker Mbete has pulled a Pontius Pilate on both the opposition parties and the ANC alike.

If the opposition loses its bid to remove Zuma, which is likely to happen, then Mbete cannot be blamed and the entire motion campaign comes to an abrupt end. Had Mbete decided that the motion is to be voted through an open ballot, the opposition parties would have hauled her to court to explain her decision.

This tussle on its own is useful for opposition parties in their battle to dislodge the ANC before they could even get their hands on the motion.

Having carefully calculated that the ANC can actually fend for themselves against this motion even if it were to be voted in secret, Mbete has cut the political lifeline of the motion shorter.

The opposition has a slim chance to succeed in this motion, yet Jackson Mthembu's caucus is not guaranteed success in repelling the motion.

To be fair to Mbete, she did bring about a fair decision. I believe that the motion will not succeed, yet I know it is not impossible for it to succeed.

In the greater scheme of things, the opposition has a slim chance to succeed in this motion, yet Jackson Mthembu's caucus is not guaranteed success in repelling the motion.

There is a realistic chance for any outcome, yet it is highly unlikely that the motion will succeed. The unintended consequence of a secret ballot is that some ANC members who have been vocal against Zuma might actually vote to support him and we will never get to hold them accountable to such votes because it would have been secret.

All it comes down to is that all the talking is just posturing.