Modise declines ATM secret ballot request in Ramaphosa no-confidence motion

The no-confidence motion is expected to be debated in the National Assembly on Thursday.

FILE: Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise on Tuesday declined a second request from the African Transformation Movement (ATM) for a secret ballot when parties vote on a no-confidence motion in President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The no-confidence motion is expected to be debated in the National Assembly on Thursday.

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Modise initially declined the ATM’s request for voting to be in secret when it first filed its motion earlier this year.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the Constitutional Court in 2017 indicated that a secret ballot becomes necessary when the political atmosphere is highly charged or toxic.

“The ATM has not offered proof of a highly charged atmosphere, intimidation of any member, or any demonstrable evidence of threats against the lives of members and their families, which may warrant a secret ballot,” Mothapo said in a statement.

Mothapo said that the Constitution enjoined Parliament to carry out its business in an open and transparent manner.

“As public representatives of the electorate, members are not supposed to always operate under a veil of secrecy. Considerations of transparency and openness sometimes demand a display, as the Constitutional Court asserted, of ‘courage and resoluteness to boldly advance the best interests of those the members of the National Assembly represent, no matter the consequences, including the risk of dismissal for non-compliance with the party’s instructions’.”

“The Speaker was also mindful that the current virtual or hybrid sessions of the National Assembly, which are part of the institutional measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, would, in any event, render the practicalities of a secret ballot very challenging,” he said.

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