If Baleka Mbete called Pierre de Vos for advice on the no confidence vote

The motion of no confidence date is fast approaching. Members of Parliament are expected to decide through a vote whether or not to keep President Jacob Zuma in power.

Prof. Pierre de Vos, Constitutional Law Expert wrote:

The Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Baleka Mbete, will soon have to decide whether the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma is to be conducted through a secret ballot or an open ballot.

As the Constitutional Court noted “the Speaker has made it abundantly clear that she is not averse to a motion of no confidence in the President being decided upon by a secret ballot”. But she may have been lying to the court or she may, in the meantime, have changed her mind about granting a secret ballot.

Whatever she decides, the decision will be controversial. Which raises the question: what are the legal considerations she has to take into account to make a constitutionally valid decision?

The Constitutional Court did everything it could apart from ordering Baleka Mbete to hold a secret vote.

Prof. Pierre de Vos, Constitutional Law Expert

De Vos says a secret ballot depends on what constitutes the vote of no confidence. He adds if the vote is held to hold the President to account and if it is seen as a last resort, then a secret ballot is warranted.

If there are threats from the party side that will be very much in favour for a secret ballot.

Prof. Pierre de Vos, Constitutional Law Expert

De Vos says it would be unwise for Mbete to call for an open ballot.

He adds that the big test, however, will involve the Speaker presenting rational and plausible reasons to back up her decision for an open vote, then the courts are less likely to intervene.

Listen to the interview in the clip below:

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