CYRIL RAMAPHOSA gender-based violence

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Parliament declines secret ballot for vote of no confidence in Ramaphosa

The vote of no confidence against president Cyril Ramaphosa brought by African Transformation Movement will be debated on Thursday.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA gender-based violence

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

The voting in the motion of no confidence against President Cyril Ramaphosa set for Thursday 3 December 2020, will not be by secret ballot.

Parliament revealed on Tuesday that speaker of the National Assembly Ms Thandi Modise, declined a request by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) for the voting on the motion of no confidence to be conducted by a way of a secret ballot.

 ATM had written to the Speaker over the weekend further motivating for their request, which was initially made in March.

The party led by Vuyolwethu Zungulwa brought the motion contending that Ramaphosa was among others, not transparent with Parliament on his 2017 presidential campaign.

In a statement, parliament unpacked the speaker’s powers in so far as secret ballots are concerned.

“The speaker has the powers in terms of the Constitution to prescribe how voting in a motion of no confidence in the President may be conducted, taking into consideration prevailing pertinent factors. Section 1(d) of the Constitution sets openness as a fundamental principle of our democracy and the Constitution enjoins the National Assembly to conduct its business in an open and transparent manner.”

Parliamentary statement

It added that in making a decision, the Speaker must consider the constitutional imperatives of transparency, openness and public participation, on one hand, and ensuring MPs can exercise their functions without intimidation or hardship, on the other hand.

Parliament said ATM failed to prove that the atmosphere is toxic warranting a secret ballot as per the Constitutional Court ruling in 2017 which indicated that a secret ballot becomes necessary where the prevailing atmosphere is toxified or highly charged.

 “The ATM has not offered proof of a highly charged atmosphere, intimidation of any Member or any demonstrable evidence of threats against the lives of members and their families, which may warrant a secret ballot.”

Parliament maintains that as public representatives of the electorate, Members are not supposed to always operate under a veil of secrecy. Considerations of transparency and openness sometimes demand a display, as the Constitutional Court asserted, of “courage and resoluteness to boldly advance the best interests of those the members of the National Assembly represent, no matter the consequences, including the risk of dismissal for non-compliance with the party’s instructions”.

The debate will be conducted in a hybrid session in an effort to combat the spread of Covid-19.