DA gives Mbete ultimatum on her secret ballot vote decision

04 August 2017 - 20:11 By Neo Goba
Speaker of the National Assembly Baleke Mbete. File photo.
Speaker of the National Assembly Baleke Mbete. File photo.
Image: Foto24 / Denvor de Wee

In a bid to have Speaker of the National Assembly Baleke Mbete to pronounce on her decision regarding a secret ballot vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma‚ the Democratic Alliance has threatened her with legal action.

On Friday afternoon‚ DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen sent Mbete a letter challenging her to make a decision on the secret ballot by 9am on Saturday.

"I now write to you to demand that you immediately publicly announce your decision about whether the motion of no confidence in the President scheduled for 8 August 2017‚ will be made and communicated to parties at the earliest opportunity‚" wrote Steenhuisen.

Mbete is keeping it secret on whether the vote on Tuesday will take place via a secret ballot or not.

In June‚ the Constitutional Court ruled on June 22 that it was up to Mbete to decide for or against a secret ballot. She had previously argued that she had no such authority.

He reminded her that she had asked parties to make submissions on the secret ballot on July 14.

Steenhuisen said Mbete has had ample time to make a decision and now that it is two working days before the big day‚ the DA will consider taking legal action against her.

"You plainly have not complied with your own commitment to take the decision ‘at the earlier opportunity’‚" Steenhuisen said in the letter.

"Your refusal to take a decision … is a naked attempt to either frustrate those parties from challenging your decision or to ensure that the motion is delayed while that challenge is determined. You have acted in bad faith and in violation of your constitutional obligations."

Steenhuisen said Mbete was acting in bad faith.

Earlier on Friday‚ African National Congress Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said that ANC MPs would not support the DA-sponsored motion to remove Zuma as president and dared opposition parties to "bring it on".

“In all our statements we have said ‘bring it on’. We have said so. Whether you bring it through a secret ballot or through an open ballot … but we have confidence in our members. That’s why as ANC we have said ‘bring it on’. Whether through form of secret or whatever‚ because we ourselves have discussed this issue‚” said Mthembu.

He said the forthcoming motion has generated much debate and public interest‚ hence the party saw it desirable to “upfront clarify our stance on this motion and respond to pronouncements by the opposition on this matter”.