ATM to push for secret ballot of no confidence vote against Cyril Ramaphosa
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Pretoria - The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has intimated that it will push for a vote of no confidence against President Cyril Ramaphosa through a secret ballot.
This followed yesterday’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruling which set aside the Western Cape High Court’s verdict in favour of the then National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise’s decision against the ATM’s motion being decided through a secret ballot.
Almost two years ago, the Speaker – who is now Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula – refused to allow the motion to be carried out by means of a secret ballot, and instead opted for an open ballot.
In a bid to challenge the decision, the ATM launched an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to have it set aside, but it lost on March 26 this year.
It then took up the matter on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), where the March judgment was overruled.
In court papers, the ATM explained that its motivation for the motion was that state-owned entities had collapsed under Ramaphosa’s watch.
“It accused him of having misled Parliament “in stating that there would be no load shedding, but that this had eventuated”, and also referred to “other aspects of alleged poor performance of his role”.
ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula said yesterday: “The next thing that we are going to await is for the Speaker to decide whether they are going to appeal, or are they going to comply?”
Zungula said the party would be pushing for the motion with the hope that “the ANC would not instruct members of Parliament to vote in a particular way because MPs took an oath to uphold the Constitution and to be loyal to the people of this country, and not their own respective party”.
“We hope that the MPs will indeed vote with their conscience and will be loyal to the people of this country, who are subjected to increasing levels of corruption and unemployment,” he said.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether the party would allow its members to vote with their consciences in the event of the motion being executed through a secret vote.
The SCA ordered that the Speaker should make “a fresh decision” in line with the ATM’s request for the motion to be conducted by secret ballot.
The court found the then Speaker Thandi Modise had asked the wrong question of the ATM when she wanted the party “to convince me to decide that a vote by secret ballot should be held”.
“She did not ask ‘what would be the best procedure to ensure that members exercise their oversight powers most effectively’ as regards this particular vote of no confidence?" the court said. It said she had misunderstood the nature of the discretion to be exercised.
“There was thus a failure to exercise the discretion accorded to her. All of this demonstrates that the decision of the Speaker was vitiated by irrationality.”