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Parly to oppose ConCourt application for secret ballot in no confidence motion

UDM is seeking direct access to the court for a secret ballot, which opposition parties hope will see President Jacob Zuma removed.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma and Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete arriving ahead of the State of the Nation Address in Cape Town on 12 February 2015. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has confirmed it will oppose a Constitutional Court application for a secret ballot vote on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) is seeking direct access to the court for a secret ballot, which opposition parties hope will see the president removed.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has set the debate down for 18 April, after requests from the opposition as part of widespread action sparked by Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle.

Parliament says neither the Constitution nor the Rules of the Assembly provide for a vote of no confidence to be conducted by secret ballot, and the Speaker has no authority in law to alter such provisions.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said: “Secret ballot is only required when a president is elected into office and when there is a challenger for that particular position. It is within that regard that Parliament will not agree to the particular proposition of the UDM.”

Mbete confirmed that she has been served papers by the UDM on the matter of a secret vote during the motion of no confidence.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says it wants to be sure that all Members of Parliament will vote freely without intimidation from their parties when the motion is debated.

Mbete rejected UDM’s request for a secret ballot last week.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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