According to the ruling of a South Africa’s Constitutional Court on Thursday, the speaker of parliament can order a secret ballot in an upcoming no-confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma, a move that would open the way for members of his own party to vote against him.
The ruling might also make it possible to eventually oust the president, who has come under mounting pressure to resign over a string of corruption scandals.
“Without any fear of reprisals, the secret ballot has been identified as the best voting mechanism” by opposition parties, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said during the court session broadcast live by the television channel eNCA.
Zuma has already survived several no-confidence motions, but he is now facing increasing criticism within his own African National Congress (ANC).
The small opposition party United Democratic Movement (UDM), which asked the Constitutional Court to authorise a secret ballot, said ANC members were being threatened with losing their jobs if they voted against the president.
Analysts say a faction of the ANC could turn against Zuma if the ballot is secret.
Speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete, a member of the ANC, had earlier said she had no powers to order a secret ballot.
Mbete’s argument had no legal foundation, Mogoeng said, leaving the decision about the ballot in the hands of the speaker.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) proposed the no-confidence vote after Zuma sacked popular finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March, prompting two ratings agencies to downgrade South Africa.
The date of the vote has not yet been set.
The DA on Thursday called on it to be held as soon as possible and urged all legislators to “vote to fire Zuma.”
The president’s reputation has been tarnished by a string of scandals, including the use of taxpayers’ money to upgrade his country home and his friendship with the Gupta business family, which has been accused of securing lucrative state contracts in corrupt deals.
Source:( PM News )