ATM threatens legal action over secret Cyril Ramaphosa no confidence ballot
The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has given National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise until close of business on Monday to allow a secret ballot ahead of the debate on a motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa.
If the secret ballot is not allowed, the party said it will head to court.
The ATM welcomed a point Modise made when declining their request for a secret ballot. She said the ATM should have proffered concrete evidence that MPs would deviate from their constitutional mandate if voting through the secret ballot was not acceded to.
It argued that conditions that empower Modise to exercise her discretion for the secret ballot are in abundance.
“Without being exhaustive, it is public record that at least two opposition party members of parliament were removed from parliament by their own party because it was found they were beneficiaries of the CR17 campaign funds,” said ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula.
“This alone is reason enough to corroborate a legitimate suspicion that perhaps more members of parliament are beneficiaries of CR17 campaign funds, and thus might find it very difficult to vote against President Ramaphosa after benefiting personally, and maybe risking their lives and livelihoods.
“This issue is very serious in this unfortunate climate of political killings and purging.
“It is also on public record that some within the majority party, for their reasons, are no longer supportive of President Ramaphosa’s reign,” said Zungula.
There is no rationale in holding an open election process when the environment is awash with the level of toxicity that is out there for everyone to see.Vuyolwethu Zungula
He said factional battles in the ANC were “too numerous” to list, but the crucial one was the burning of an ANC T-shirt bearing Ramaphosa's face.
Zungula also claimed that in the build-up to the ANC's national general council, scheduled for next year, Ramaphosa and other ANC national executive committee members faced stringent evaluation.
Voting openly may therefore show the hand of some members and expose them to dire consequences before the national general council, he said.
“The speaker, therefore, acting impartially with due regard to some of the examples mentioned above, has to ensure the voting process is credible and reflects the constitutional obligations of MPs.
“There is no rationale in holding an open election process when the environment is awash with the level of toxicity that is out there for everyone to see,” said Zungula.
He said it was against this background that the ATM wanted Modise to urgently review the decision not to grant a secret ballot.
“In the event the speaker is unable to review her decision by end of business on November 30, the ATM will have no choice but to seek other legal remedies at our disposal,” he said.
When declining the ATM's request for the motion to be voted on by secret ballot, Modise cited section 1(d) of the constitution, which sets “openness” as a fundamental principle for SA's democracy.
“The constitution also instructs the National Assembly to conduct its business in an open manner,” she said.
Modise said the Constitutional Court indicated a secret ballot became necessary when the prevailing atmosphere was toxic or highly charged, and the ATM had not offered any evidence of a highly charged atmosphere or intimidation of members in the motivation for their request.
The motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa will be debated on Thursday.