MPs won't vote differently in secret ballot - Zuma's lawyer

File Opposition leaders are calling on South Africans to come out and support a march to the Constitutional Court on Monday

File Opposition leaders are calling on South Africans to come out and support a march to the Constitutional Court on Monday

A decision in favour of the opposition would significantly shift the balance of forces in the ANC and alter the approach towards the motion of no confidence vote and Zuma's grip on power.

"If we get a secret ballot, there won't be impeachment because Zuma will not be president, I can tell you that".

Opponents led by the main opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) believe a recent cabinet reshuffle that led to the dismissal of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan, triggering damaging ratings downgrades and large street protests, may have angered enough ANC members to desert Zuma.

Advocate Dali Mpofu argues that National Assembly rules 103 and 104 are clear that Mbete has the discretion to determine the voting procedure.

"When the Speaker receives a request for a secret ballot, she has an obligation to go back and look at the rules". "This case is not about separation of powers‚ nor encroachment of the court in anything".

They suggested that the drafters of the constitution might have left the option on what form voting should take place on motions of no confidence to the legislature. In addition, he said MPs had been threatened with losing their seats and with violence if they voted against him.

In a statement read out by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa at a joint media briefing on Friday‚ he said that a secret ballot would provide "the safest" space for all MPs to be guided by their conscience and "not by dictates of political bosses who issue instructions to parliament from party quarters".

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The scheduled no-confidence debate has been postponed by parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete, who has said she has no powers to agree to a secret ballot. "One must come to conclusion that the most logical way of promoting the value of holding the executive to account is a secret ballot". By which you can hold the executive more accountable.

ANC leaders have said that members of parliament must vote according to the wishes of the party that elected them rather than the constituents they represent.

From 2012, the IFP has been pursuing this matter of a secret ballot, that if you vote someone in by secret ballot you can vote them out the same way. Four friends of the court‚ the Council for the Advancement of the Constitution‚ the Unemployment People's Movement‚ the Shosholoza Progressive Movement and the Institute for Security Studies‚ also made submissions to the court that were in support of the political parties.

Justice Chris Jafta questioned Moerane on whether the secret ballot wasn't the only way to prevent repercussions for MPs who vote against party lines.

He also said the UDM had failed to invoke the Constitutional Court's exclusive jurisdiction to hear the case.

Advocate for the EFF Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said section 86 of the constitution, which dealt with the appointment of the president by secret ballot, applied with equal force to section 102 (2).

"This‚ the (UDM) has not established‚" Semenya said.

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