Secret ballot will maintain integrity of 'no confidence vote', UDM tells ConCourt

South African opposition wants secret ballot on Zuma vote

Zuma and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) have suffered a string of judicial setbacks and the political stakes are high in this case as opposition parties believe the motion will have better prospects of toppling the president, who has survived previous such votes, if it is conducted in secret.

She said if the court found she had the power to order a motion of no confidence via secret ballot, she would act in accordance with its ruling.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, has appealed to ANC legislators to "vote with their conscience".

Arguing for the EFF, advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said Mbete had erred when she said she didn't have the discretion to allow a secret ballot. From 2012, the IFP has been pursuing this matter of a secret ballot, that if you vote someone in by secret ballot you can vote them out the same way. "This case is not about separation of powers‚ nor encroachment of the court in anything".

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng then asked him if ordering Mbete to hold a secret ballot would not amount to overreach.

They suggested that the drafters of the constitution might have left the option on what form voting should take place on motions of no confidence to the legislature.

Separately, local media reported that ANC supporters in the port city of Durban marched to protest against what the party says is the pandering of the judiciary to the opposition. "The logic underlying section 86 applies with equal force to section 102 of the constitution".

"What MPs are being asked is to decide the most contentious question: Is this man fit to remain in office?"

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From 2012, the IFP has been pursuing this matter of a secret ballot, that if you vote someone in by secret ballot you can vote them out the same way.

Zuma's lawyers argued that an open vote could still succeed in holding the executive accountable but conceded there's no harm in having a secret ballot.

Leader Prince Mashele said for the first time since 1994, the Constitutional Court will decide on whether a President could be removed through a secret ballot. Four friends of the court‚ the Council for the Advancement of the Constitution‚ the Unemployment People's Movement‚ the Shosholoza Progressive Movement and the Institute for Security Studies‚ also made submissions to the court that were in support of the political parties.

The United Democratic Movement petitioned the Constitutional Court after parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete rejected its argument that since parliament chooses the president by secret ballot, it should also be able to use it to remove him.

Malema added that there would be no need for impeachment should the parties get the secret vote nod.

He also said the UDM had failed to invoke the Constitutional Court's exclusive jurisdiction to hear the case.

"This‚ the (UDM) has not established‚" Semenya said.

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