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‘Rules of Parliament don’t allow for secret ballot votes’

Opposition parties have asked presiding officers to allow MPs to vote secretly on issues such as impeachment.

South African Parliament. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy National Assembly speaker Lechesa Tsenoli says the rules of Parliament don't allow Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote through a secret ballot on issues like an impeachment vote against President Jacob Zuma.

Opposition parties have asked Parliament's presiding officers to allow MPs to vote secretly, if a vote is held on whether Zuma should be impeached after the Constitutional Court's finding that he broke his oath of office over the Nkandla scandal.

Currently, MP's have to vote in the way they are instructed to by their political parties.

Tsenoli says it seems very unlikely that political parties will vote to change this system ahead of that impeachment vote.

"I have no clue in which way that would happen because so far, it would have had to be accepted in the House and the House not sat, so it is unlikely to come to that conclusion."

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete yesterday confirmed the debate would be set down for tomorrow afternoon.

Calls for Zuma to step down have come from opposition parties, within the African National Congress and tripartite alliance itself.

With the president's removal set to be debated, Mbete is also facing calls for her to resign.

The Democratic Alliance's Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said, "We believe it's apposite that she steps down and makes way for new leadership able to re-establish Parliament's role as an executive oversight organ."

Mbete said she was not going anywhere.

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