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Mbete turns down request for secret ballot during Zuma no confidence vote

The motion of no confidence debate in President Jacob Zuma has been set down for a special sitting of Parliament on 18 April.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN – National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has turned down a request for voting on the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma to be conducted by secret ballot.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa has threatened to go to court over the issue, arguing that threats against African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament if they break ranks make it necessary.

The debate has been set down for a special sitting of Parliament on 18 April.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu says the party’s Members of Parliament are under intense pressure. They’re being lobbied to back the bid to topple Zuma but are also being threatened with action from within their own party if they don’t toe the party line.

“It’s other quarters that have said ANC MPs will be removed if they vote in support of the motion from some provinces and from some individuals, some members of the leadership of the ANC.”

Mbete has told lawyers acting for the UDM that there’s no provision for a secret ballot in Parliament’s rules or the Constitution.

She says she can’t grant the party’s request for a secret vote because it has no basis in law.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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