In a surprise turn, Speaker Baleka Mbete has announced that she will allow a secret ballot for Tuesday’s vote on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
Mbete said she had carefully weighed many different factors and interests, and in particular the considerations stressed by the Constitutional Court when it delivered judgment on the application by opposition parties who tried to force a secret ballot.
She noted that MPs owed a heavy debt to the public who elected them, and were under no legal obligation to maintain allegiance to the party they represented.
And she added that the court had reminded all that a vote of no confidence was a potent tool to hold the president to account.
“I therefore determine that voting on the motion of no confidence in the president on August 8 will be by secret ballot,” Mbete told a media briefing.