SACP: Mbete mustn't ignore MP intimidation in secret ballot vote

The SACP’s Alex Mashilo says the speaker can’t ignore the fact that many ANC MPs have been threatened with dismissals.

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

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Communist Party (SACP) has called on National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to consider Members of Parliament who have been intimidated by the African National Congress (ANC) when making her decision on whether to allow a secret ballot in a vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court ruled that Mbete was mistaken when she said that neither the Constitution nor the rules of the assembly allow her to authorise a vote by way of secret ballot.

The SACP’s Alex Mashilo says the Speaker can’t ignore the fact that many ANC MPs have been threatened with dismissals and disciplinary hearings if they vote in support of the motion.

“It is, therefore, going to be very important for the Speaker to be as comprehensive and holistic as possible in making her decision on this matter.”

Meanwhile, the ANC also reacted to the court judgement, describing the United Democratic Movement’s application as frivolous and vexatious, saying its happy the court didn’t decide for the Speaker on how to exercise her discretion.

EXECUTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY

The Constitutional Court confirmed the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) application to allow Parliament to hold a motion of no confidence in the president in secret is about executive accountability.

The court ruled that Mbete was mistaken when she said that neither the Constitution nor the rules of the assembly allow her to authorise a vote by secret ballot.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says any motion of no confidence is there to enhance the enforcement of accountability.

“When all the regular checks and balances seem to be ineffective or a serious accountability breach is sought to have occurred, then the citizens’ best interest could at times demand a resort to the ultimate accountability ensuring mechanisms.”