south africa parliament denies opposing legal application for secret ballot
Last Updated : GMT 09:40:38
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Last Updated : GMT 09:40:38
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South Africa Parliament denies opposing legal application for secret ballot

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Themuslimchronicle, themuslimchronicleSouth Africa Parliament denies opposing legal application for secret ballot

President Jacob Zuma
Cape Town - Arab Today

South Africa's Parliament on Tuesday rejected allegations that it intends to oppose an legal application for a secret ballot when a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is conducted.
Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete holds no position on the matter with regard to whether motions of this nature ought to be conducted by way of a secret vote, Parliament said in a statement.
The United Democratic Movement (UDM) has approached the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), asking for an order to have voting on the motion of no confidence conducted through a secret ballot.
A parliamentary debate has been scheduled for April 18 on the motion of no confidence in Zuma. The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) submitted the motion in the hope of toppling Zuma.
Zuma has been criticized for reshuffling the cabinet on March 31, sacking or replacing 20 ministers and deputy ministers, notably Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, a move that has prompted international rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Fitch to downgrade South Africa's credit rating to junk status.
"An incorrect impression has been created in the media that Parliament intends 'opposing' the Constitutional Court application by the United Democratic Movement to have voting on the motion of no confidence conducted through a secret ballot," the Parliament statement said.
This is not entirely true, and does not reflect the position of Parliament, the statement said.
But the statement noted that the Constitution, which outlines the procedure for motions of no confidence, makes no provision for voting to be conducted through a secret ballot.
Similarly, the rules of the National Assembly do not provide for secret voting, the statement added.
In 2015 the Western Cape High Court dismissed an application which sought to force the National Assembly to vote on a similar motion of no confidence in Zuma by secret ballot.
The court ruled that there was no implied or expressed constitutional requirement for voting by secret ballot in motions of no confidence in the president.
Speaker Mbete has sworn to uphold the Constitution and thus all her decisions must have basis in law and the Rules of the House, the statement said.
Therefore, acceding to the request of the UDM would have been unconstitutional, as she does not enjoy such powers in the Constitution, according to the statement.
This is the position the Speaker will advance when the matter is scheduled in the Constitutional Court, the statement said.
"This, however, does not suggest opposition to the principle of a secret ballot on motions of this nature," said the statement.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has rejected calls by opposition parties for a secret ballot in the motion of no confidence.
The ANC says its MPs must vote according to the party line.
Some ANC MPs reportedly voiced fear that they would be disciplined or removed if they vote in support of the motion.
For a vote of no confidence motion to be successful, it requires 201 of the 400 National Assembly MPs to vote in favor.
If the motion is successful, then the president, his deputy, cabinet ministers and all their deputies must resign as provided for in section 102 of the Constitution.
In 2016, Zuma survived two no confidence motions in Parliament which is dominated by ANC MPs.

Source: Xinhua

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