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'Mbete must explain choice of ballot in no confidence vote'

Opposition parties want Baleka Mbete to recuse herself from presiding over the debate on a motion of no confidence in the president scheduled for 8 August.

ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete on 5 July 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties say Speaker Baleka Mbete should be prepared to provide reasons for her decision on the kind of ballot that will be held on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

Several of the parties have already filed their submissions with her office in line with a directive from Mbete that they indicate their preference before the end of Friday.

The parties say they won't allow her to take a decision that does not comply with last month's Constitutional Court ruling.

Opposition parties want Mbete to recuse herself from presiding over the debate on a motion of no confidence in the president, that is scheduled for 8 August.

They argue that as a presidential hopeful, she has a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and has shown herself to be biased towards Zuma on numerous occasions.

In its submission, the United Democratic Movement reiterates arguments put before the Constitutional Court for a secret ballot.

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says Mbete's decision must be in line with this ruling.

“Whatever decision she makes, she's going to have to have very valid reasons for how she's arrived at that decision. The Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng made it abundantly clear that that decision must be a rational decision.”

Parliamentary Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says Mbete will be thoroughly going through the submissions made by political parties before making a decision on a secret ballot.

“The Speaker will then consider those submissions, as well as a variety of other factors that she has to consider in order to arrive at a decision, and the decision will then be made before the 8th of August.”

Moloto says the Speaker's office has not received a formal request for her to recuse herself from presiding over the debate, following a call by opposition parties on Thursday that Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli chair the sitting instead.

“But the arrangement in terms of the rules in terms of how the house must conduct such a matter remains.”

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)

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