Baleka Mbete Picture: Nic Bothma/EPA

Parliament -  National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has announced that the vote on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, to be debated in Parliament on Tuesday, will be decided by secret ballot. 

Mbete said she had taken all due consideration before deciding to conduct the vote in secret. 

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.

She declined to answer any questions.

The vote on the motion of no confidence will take place on Tuesday with opposition parties pushing for Zuma to be removed as president. 

The same parties are gambling on disgruntled ANC MPs, that are  concerned about Zuma's leadership, to possibly vote with them in the no confidence vote. 

It is still not clear how many of the ANC MPs will take the bait, but some like Makhosi Khoza and Mondli Gungubele have spoken out that they would be guided by their consciences when they vote on Tuesday. 

Mbete has been criticised for taking too long to make a decision on the voting procedure. 

The EFF had also warned that it would take Mbete to court if she did not allow for secret ballot. 

Opposition parties such as the UDM and EFF had pushed for the vote to be held in secret to allow for ANC MPs to vote without the fear of reprisal hanging over their heads. 

Some members of the ANC have already called for disciplinary action to be taken against ANC members who will not abide by the party's decision not support the motion. 

Last week ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said voting against Zuma would be like dropping a nuclear bomb on the country. 

Several protests have been planned in Cape Town on Tuesday, and thousands are expected to march for and against President Zuma. 

IOL and ANA