Speaker Baleka Mbete File picture: Itumeleng English/ANA Pictures

As the countdown continues to the August 8 motion of no confidence debate on President Jacob Zuma, nine of 13 parties in Parliament have submitted their views to the Speaker Baleka Mbete, on whether the president’s future should be determined by a secret ballot.

The deadline for submissions was last Friday.

Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, confirmed yesterday that the majority of the parties said they wanted a secret ballot. The ball was now in Mbete’s court to make a decision, he said.

That decision will be made before the motion is debated on August 8. However, he said he couldn’t give an exact date, as the Speaker “is still applying her mind” to the parties’ proposals.

“At the lapse of the deadline, nine of the 13 parties represented in the National Assembly had duly forwarded their views to the Speaker’s office. They are the ANC, DA, EFF, IFP, National Freedom Party, United Democratic Movement, Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party and Cope,” said Mothapo.

“Both the ANC and DA have indicated they will abide by the Speaker’s decision, while the rest of the nine prefer a secret ballot,” he said.

James Selfe, the DA’s federal executive chairperson, said: “Our position is clear. The Speaker is aware of what the chief justice said. Now it is up to her to make that decision. She should not expect the parties to make the decision for her. If she comes up with a capricious decision, we reserve our right to take appropriate action.”

Mothapo said Mbete would consider her position before the date for the motion.

Parties have, over the last few months, been fighting to get Mbete to conduct a secret ballot on the motion against Zuma. This led to the UDM mounting a challenge in the Constitutional Court.

In a decision that was praised across the board, the court put the ball back into Mbete’s court.

It ruled that it was well within Mbete’s powers to make such a decision – contrary to her earlier argument that although she was not personally against a secret ballot, she did not have the constitutional powers to make such a decision.

Opposition to Zuma’s presidency, which has been mounting for a long time, reached a crescendo since the publication of the Gupta emails and increasing evidence of what has become known as state capture. This led to a series of marches across the country calling for Zuma to go.

The ANC has insisted its MPs will toe the party line when the voting takes place next month.

Political and Development Hub