Speaker Baleka Mbete was not opposed to a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma being held by secret ballot, but was rather not Constitutionally empowered to approve such a vote, Parliament said on Tuesday.
In a media statement, Parliament issued a “clarification” on its position regarding an application by United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa to the Constitutional Court to have the vote – scheduled for next Tuesday in the National Assembly – held by secret ballot.
“We wish to state that, with regard to whether motions of this nature ought to be conducted by way of a secret vote, the Speaker of the National Assembly holds no position on the matter. Where the Speaker and the UDM disagree is in relation to the powers of the Speaker under the Constitution to make such a determination,” the statement said.
“Section 102 of the Constitution, which outlines the procedure for motions of no confidence, makes no provision for voting to be conducted through a secret ballot. Similarly, the rules of the National Assembly do not provide for secret voting.”
Parliament said for Mbete to have acceded to Holomisa’s request would have been unconstitutional.