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DA disappointed Mbete failed to meet deadline on secret vote

The Democratic Alliance’s John Steenhuisen says the speaker is prejudicing the rights of parties in the assembly.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete addresses the media at OR Tambo International Airport on her return home from Bangladesh.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it’s disappointed that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has failed to meet its deadline to pronounce on her decision over a secret ballot vote in the no confidence motion in President Jacob Zuma.

The party wrote to Mbete on Friday challenging her to make a decision by 9am on Saturday.

The DA’s John Steenhuisen says the Speaker is prejudicing the rights of parties in the National Assembly.

Mbete has been quoted as saying she will do the right thing in the no confidence vote, however, she has still not made public if it will be a secret ballot ahead of Parliament’s sitting on Tuesday.

Opposition parties have rallied together in calling for the president to step down but they will need 201 or more votes to see this happen.

Steenhuisen says the delay will inconvenience parties.

“The delay and the decision means is that opposition parties or any party for that matter who wants to review a decision will have a very limited time to do so.

“And, therefore, by her delays, she’s prejudicing the rights of other parties in the National Assembly.”

He says the DA has forwarded the matter to its legal team and will take a decision on how to respond today.

UDM FRUSTRATED BY MBETE’S DELAYS

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said it's concerning that Mbete hasn’t made a decision on whether to allow the motion of no confidence vote to be done in secret.

The African National Congress (ANC) is expected to march to Parliament next week in support of Zuma when Members of Parliament (MPs) will debate in the motion of no confidence against him

At the same time, the Economic Freedom Fighters, Democratic Alliance, UDM, and African Christian Democratic Party will march together with civil society organisations in support of Zuma’s removal.

Holomisa said the parties are ready for the march and are expecting ordinary South Africans to join calls to have Zuma removed.

“We’re concerned because if it’s going to be a secret ballot, it has got a lot of logistics which Parliament needs to prepare for.

“In other words, the IEC must be advised to come and run those elections and I hope that Baleka Mbete by keeping quiet, made provision for such.”

Holomisa said it’s all systems go for opposition marches to Parliament ahead of the debate on a motion of no confidence.

“We are also ready for the marches. We are ready to listen to the Speaker or get a response from her whether there will be a secret ballot today, Sunday, Monday or even on Tuesday in the House.”

Holomisa said the ANC is “out of order” in instructing its MPs to toe the party line when the latest motion of no confidence in President Zuma comes before the National Assembly.

Earlier, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said voting in favour of the motion would be like “throwing a nuclear bomb at the country”.

He said: “Irrespective whether it’s secret of not secret if the opposition parties say let's go and vote, the people who will be on trial are the members of the ANC in the House.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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