Take responsibility and hold Zuma to account, MPs told

They are calling on MPs to vote in accordance with their roles to represent public views in Jacob Zuma's motion of no confidence.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - A group of civil society organisations is demanding that parliamentarians take responsibility and hold President Jacob Zuma to account.

The group, led by the Parliament Watch Alliance, is calling on Members of Parliament to vote in accordance with their roles to represent public views during the motion of no confidence against Zuma next month.

With the motion of no confidence in President Zuma just two weeks away, Parliament Watch Alliance is calling on all MPs irrespective of their political affiliation to hold Zuma and his Cabinet to account.

The group's Dalli Weyers said: “As an alliance, we have written to MPs, employing them to vote against President Zuma in the vote of no confidence and we’re asking them to do this in order for them to represent the voices.”

Weyers says that the motion is an opportunity for MPs to restore the public's trust in them, Parliament and in government.

ANC SUPPORTS ZUMA

In June, the African National Congress in Parliament said it will defeat the motion of no confidence against Zuma after the Constitutional Court made its ruling on a secret ballot vote on the motion.

The court ruled that National Speaker Baleka Mbete has the power to decide on a secret ballot, saying that she was wrong to say that a secret ballot vote is not allowed in a motion of no confidence.

"We reiterate our long-stated position that we will not support the motion of no confidence on President Jacob Zuma by opposition parties. We will defeat this motion of no confidence by the opposition as we have successfully done so in the previous 4 motions tabled in this 5th term of Parliament," the ANC said in a statement following the ruling.

The party said it had unequivocal confidence in its caucus not to vote in support of a motion to remove the president.

The argument by Mbete that she doesn't have the discretion or is under no obligation to allow for a secret ballot has been dealt a blow.

And while the Chief Justice also made it clear the court can't decide for Mbete what decision to take, whatever it is, it must be rational.

The court said that because Mbete had indicated that she has never been opposed to a secret ballot, now that the rules have been clarified to give her powers to hold it, she must make a fresh decision on “a proper and rational basis”.

Additional reporting by Clement Manyathela.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)