Speaker must decide on secret ballot and must decide soon – John Steenhuisen

DA Chief Whip says Mbete has until close of business this Friday to make up her mind

#NoConfidence: Speaker must decide on secret ballot and must decide soon

17 July 2017

The DA has today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request that she make her decision on whether the DA’s Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma, scheduled for 8 August 2017, should proceed via secret ballot by the end of this week.

It is our belief that there is no reason why the Speaker cannot apply her mind and duly communicate her decision on the secret ballot by close of business this Friday, 21 July, instead of waiting until a day or two before the vote as Mbete suggested in a recent interview.

On 22 June 2017 the Constitutional Court confirmed what we knew already, that “the Speaker of the National Assembly has the constitutional power to prescribe that voting in a motion of  no confidence in the President of the Republic of South Africa be conducted by secret ballot”.

Importantly, her decision must pass the test of rationality.

It is now incumbent on the Speaker, and only the Speaker, to decide if voting on 8 Augustwill proceed via secret ballot. We emphasised this in a letter responding to her curious request for “political parties to submit their views regarding their preferred means of voting”.

Mbete rarely concerns herself with the views of other political parties, or even contrarian views within the ANC. It is disingenuous for her to pretend to care now that she’s been singled out for not doing her job. She cannot shift her responsibility. She, and she alone, must make the decision and it must be rational.

The DA urges Mbete to apply her mind and to rationally decide on the matter of the secret ballot this week. There is no reason why the Speaker should delay her decision any longer.

We also reiterate our call for Mbete to recuse herself from presiding over the debate on the motion of no confidence. The Speaker has a long history of showing bias in her slavish defence of President Zuma, and she is not suitable to preside over this important debate.

Issued by John Steenhuisen, Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, 17 July 2017