MKMVA MEDIA STATEMENT ABOUT THE RULING BY THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REGARDING THE MATTER OF A SECRET VOTE IN THE EVENT OF A NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
22 June 2017
Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has noted the unanimous ruling of a full bench of the Constitutional Court regarding the matter of a secret vote for the no-confidence vote that opposition parties intend to table in the National Assembly against the President of the Republic.
We welcome that the Constitutional Court confirmed that it is the prerogative of the Speaker of the National Assembly to determine whether the no-confidence vote will be conducted by open or secret ballot. To the extent that Constitutional Court ruled accordingly, it is a welcome confirmation of the constitutional separation of powers. This is specifically welcomed in the context of an apparent drift by our courts towards judicial over-reach and blurring the boundaries of the separation of powers.
We must, however, express our concern that the Constitutional Court apparently tried to direct/goad the Speaker of the National Assembly into a specific direction about what she should decide regarding an open or secret ballot. This goading is done on the basis of a very subjective interpretation of the political situation in our country, and to out minds this was uncalled for and falls outside the strictly legal decision that the Constitutional Court was expected to make in terms of our Constitution. This in itself comes perilously close to judicial creap and can in itself result in judicial over-reach.
While we have no intention to prescribe to the Speaker of the National Assembly about what decision she should finally take, MKMVA as a political association is of the view that the no-confidence vote should be conducted by open ballot. We consider the call by the UDM, DA and other opposition parties for a secret so-called 'conscience' vote hypocritical in the extreme, especially in the light that the constitutions of their own parties do not allow for so-called freedom of conscience votes and execute strict party discipline for any vote by their members to be along their respective party political positions. Any of their representatives who vote contrary to the position of their parties, face immediate disciplinary action and expulsion. It is disingenuous in the extreme for them to expect any different approach from the African National Congress.
MKMVA therefore welcomes the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC that all ANC MP's are expected to vote against the spurious no-confidence vote against the President by the opposition parties. The relevant decision of the ANC NEC reads as follows:
"Regardless of whether a secret ballot is granted by the court or not, ANC MPs, as always, are expected to vote in line with the decision of the Caucus of the ANC. Failure to do so is in violation of Rule 220.127.116.11 of the ANC Constitution defines an act of misconduct as:
acting on behalf of or in collaboration with:
- counter-revolutionary forces;
- a political organisation or party other than an organisation or party in alliance with the ANC in a manner contrary to the aims, policies and objectives of the ANC;"
As a disciplined force of our National Democratic Revolution MKMVA expects of the ANC to enforce this decision, and for each and every ANC MP to vote in accordance with the decision.
In conclusion we share the view that the NEC of the ANC expressed that calls to remove President Zuma "are not so much about removing the President by rather dislodging the ANC itself from power".
Issued by Kebby Maphatsoe, the President of MKMVA, 22 June 2017