Secret ballot call for no confidence motion against Zuma is irrational and dangerous

13 Apr 2017

By: Lawrence Khoza

General Bantu Holomisa’s laughable Court Application to force the Speaker of parliament to have the Motion of No Confidence against President Jacob Zuma decided by Secret Ballot voting should fail for two reasons. The first reason speaks to courage and the second relates to accountability. But the ANC’s reasons of objections are also strange.

The leader of the The United Democratic Movement, Holomisa, approached the court on the back of hopes that disgruntled ANC MP’s may wish to vote for the Motion of No Confidence against their leader, Zuma. They might not have the courage to do so out in the open for fear of being punished by their party.

In voting for the Motion of No Confidence, ANC MPs would be going rogue. They would presumably be acting against the will of their party. And they would obviously be fired by the ANC.

Truth is, it should not be the responsibility of any political leader to legally secure jobs and financial security for MPs once or when they discover or rediscover their courage or conscience.

The second critical point is that accountability and transparency demand that the citizens should know how MPs vote especially on such an epoch-defining decision. Otherwise a dangerous trend would be set. Very soon MPs will ask to vote through secret ballot on issues such as Lesbians Gays LGBTI rights, abortion, grants, municipal demarcation, land expropriation, etc. We need to know how our MPs vote.

As for the ANC’s objection to the Secret Ballot, I should say it is strange for it seems to doubt its own MPs – otherwise Secret Ballot or no Secret Ballot it should prevail.

Secondly the ANC says the MPs are there representing the ANC. This is ridiculous. The MPs swear to represent the people of the country. That is why they are referred to as MPs and not ANC MPs or DA MPs. Their salaries are not paid to the ANC but to the MPs individually with similar grading. Otherwise Parliament would pay the ANC which will then pay the MPs.

The other thing to consider is that MP’s accept their positions by declaring their allegiance to the constitution. This then ties back to ridiculous Holomisa application.  The point is MP’s who wish to act on their conscience and are of the view that their action is consistent with the constitution should do so without fear or favour.

Lawrence Khoza is a businessman and former political activist.

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