RESIDENT Jacob Zuma and Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete will be waiting anxiously to hear the judgment by the Constitutional Court regarding the use of a secret ballot in the National Assembly.
Judgment was reserved on Monday following hours of submissions from the legal heads involved in the case. Opposition parties have joined forces and approached the highest court in the land to protect ANC members who want Zuma out to vote in secret.
The motion of no confidence has been put on ice by Mbete who said she does not have the powers to authorise a secret ballot vote.
Zuma has been subjected to numerous motions of no confidence but has always come out on top. But things
may change this time around.
The Constitutional Court has in the past delivered scathing judgments against Zuma and Parliament.
It was after a Concourt judgment that Zuma agreed to pay back some of the money used to upgrade his Nkandla Homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
The removal of Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister, and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, caused a serious rift within the ruling party.
The application was brought by the United Democratic Movement (UDM) which was represented by Advocate Dali Mpofu.
It was not an easy day at the office for Mpofu as the justices asked why the section in the Constitution dealing with the vote of no confidence did not mention voting should be done through a secret ballot.
Other sections specify how voting should be conducted. Mpofu based his argument on the protection of Members of Parliament from intimidation.
He said reason the Constitution’s prescribed that citizens should vote by secret ballot was to protect the vote against possible intimidation.
Mpofu said Parliament had declared intimidation of MPs to be a crime.
“Surely that must put an obligation on the speaker simply to do what she can do to prevent that crime from being committed. In this case‚ it so happens the crime has been reported,” he stated.
The case has brought to the forefront the different roles that the arms of state play.
It highlighted the issue of separation of powers as well as if the court can meddle in the affairs of the National Assembly.
The day also saw thousands of people marching to the Constitutional Court in a show of power calling for the removal of Zuma. The march was led by EFF’s Julius Malema and DA leader Mmusi Maimane to mention a few.
Malema used the occasion to remind the country that the ANC has never called for the protection of MP’s from intimidation.
“When we ask for a secret ballot, we ask for the protection of democracy,” said Malema.