The application before the Constitutional Court to determine whether a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma could be put to the vote in a secret ballot, has nothing to do with the separation of powers, Dali Moody, for the United Democratic Movement (UDM), told the court on Monday.
“Contrary to all commentators out there on about what this matter is about, this case is not about separation of powers, encroachment by the court, or introducing something new,” he said.
“We will show that a secret ballot cannot be comprehensively prohibited…we will show that that is out of the question.”
Mpofu’s statement comes after complaints from the African National Congress (ANC) about judicial over-reach following the recent high court ruling that Zuma must hand over all documents on which he based his decision to fire former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
Mpofu further argued that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete had an obligation to schedule a secret ballot for the vote on the motion of no confidence tabled by the opposition.
He said it seemed the only person opposing the secret ballot was Zuma, as Mbete had already stated in her affidavit that she was open to persuasion by the opposition parties.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng asked him to “locate Mbete’s obligation” regarding the motion.
“Are you saying that it’s her obligation to schedule the secret ballot, and if she doesn’t, she would have failed in her obligations as Speaker?” asked Mogoeng.
Mpofu said nothing stops Mbete from arranging the motion, it’s debate and voting through a secret ballot.
“We are pleading that the Speaker has obligation to do that, and she has failed to discharge that obligation.”
The UDM also want Zuma to pay his legal costs personally in the matter, “as he is using taxpayers’ money and seemingly has sought to make submissions on behalf of his party, the ANC”.
He said a secret ballot was meant to protect the voter against any intimidation and any other potential risk against the voter.