ANC's Mdakane: Parly secret ballot vote not covered by Constitution

The chairperson of Parliament’s Joint Rules Committee says if the country’s Constitution makers intended for there to be a secret ballot for the removal of a sitting president, they would have included it.

FILE: The National Assembly in session. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN – The chairperson of Parliament’s Joint Rules Committee says if the country’s Constitution makers intended for there to be a secret ballot for the removal of a sitting president they would have included it.

African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Richard Mdakane says a proposal for a secret ballot by opposition parties about two years ago was rejected on this basis.

The United Democratic Movement wants the Constitutional Court to rule on the matter.

Mdakane says a proposal to allow for a secret ballot was considered by a sub-committee tasked with reviewing Parliament’s rules.

“The EFF and two other opposition parties made a proposal on this matter. And we looked at the proposal and then our decision was that, no, this is not covered anywhere in the Constitution of the country.”

The Constitutional Court has given all the parties involved until Friday to file written submissions spelling out their positions on the desirability or not of a secret ballot when it comes to voting on a motion of no confidence in the president.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has agreed to postpone the motion of no confidence debate that was set down for Tuesday to allow for the court process to unfold.

A new date is likely to be set only after Parliament resumes in early May.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)