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ISS joins opposition parties in fight for secret ballot in Zuma confidence vote

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has also applied to intervene in the matter, saying threats of intimidation against MPs are very real.

FILE: Parliament during a voting session. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – Parties involved in the United Democratic Movement (UDM)’s Constitutional Court bid for a secret vote on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, will have to file their heads of argument on Friday.

Zuma and Speaker Baleka Mbete are challenging the UDM’s interpretation of the Constitution and the rules of the House, while the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Cope have all thrown their weight behind the call for a secret ballot.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has also applied to intervene in the matter, saying threats of intimidation against MPs are very real.

The ISS says the rules of the House are inconsistent with the Constitution because they fail to ensure Parliamentary oversight over the executive.

Gareth Newham, the institute’s head of crime and justice says threats and intimidation against Members of Parliament from their political parties, make it difficult, if not impossible or unrealistic, for them to exercise their rights and powers under the Constitution.

Newham says by not allowing a secret ballot, the Constitution would be breached and Parliamentary oversight over the president would be undermined.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)