The South African Parliament has welcomed a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court regarding an application to hold a secret ballot in a pending no confidence vote over President Jacob Zuma, a senior official has said.The official confirmed this on Sunday following the court’s ruling last week that the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete has the constitutional powers to determine if motions of no confidence should be conducted by way of a secret ballot or not.
Mbete had earlier denied the country’s opposition parties’ requests to hold the vote in secret to enable MPs from the ruling African National Congress party, afraid to openly vote against Zuma, to do so secretly without any fear of reprisals from the presidency.
“Parliament wishes to reaffirm its commitment to give effect to the decision of the court. The Speaker of the National Assembly had no personal or in-principle opposition to the use of a secret ballot in a vote of no confidence in the president. The court confirmed this fact,” the anonymous Parliament official said.
The official added that the view previously held by the Speaker was that she had no powers to grant the secret ballot in motions of no confidence, as informed by the prevailing factors such as that the constitution provided for the use of secret ballot in respect to the election of a president — but was silent regarding his removal from office.