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DA disappointed Mbete failed to heed calls for secret ballot decision

The DA had written to the speaker on Friday, giving her until yesterday morning to announce the decision.

FILE: Speaker Baleka Mbete in Parliament on 19 November 2014. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) says National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete is reckless in leaving it up to the last moment to announce her decision on the secret ballot vote in the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

With Parliament sitting on Tuesday, the opposition party says Mbete’s delay does not allow parties adequate time to review the situation if necessary.

The DA had written to the speaker on Friday, giving her until yesterday morning to announce the decision.

The DA’s John Steenhuisen says they are disappointed that Mbete failed to heed its call for a decision to be made.

“We believe that it’s incredibly reckless of the Speaker leaving this decision to the very last minute because what has a potential to make the house degenerate.

“And no Speaker, who really has the heart of the institution, the upper most in her mind, would want a situation like that to occur.”

Opposition parties the DA and EFF have already vowed to take Mbete to court if a secret ballot is not granted.

The parties will need about 50 African National Congress (ANC) members to vote against Zuma to swing the motion in their favour.

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 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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