Mbete determines #NoConfidenceVote will be via secret ballot

Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting from Cape Town, reported that the opposition needs at least 50 members of the ANC to vote with them to oust the president.

Opposition parties have lobbied for months for an anonymous no-confidence vote to provide cover to disgruntled members of Mr Zuma's African National Congress who may fear coming out against their leader in an open ballot.

"You would create a crisis of unimaginable proportions", Jackson Mthembu, the ANC's chief whip in parliament, told reporters in Cape Town on August 4.

The caucus made it clear that it "would not be led by the opposition".

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the party was not surprised by Mbete's decision and it supported it.

The no-confidence motion requires the backing of a majority of the 400 lawmakers to pass. "We do not nor have we ever doubted their loyalty and discipline in relation to the decisions of the movement".

DA leader Mmusi Maimane quipped that his vote was no secret, adding that Tuesday's secret ballot was a "start to set South Africa in the right direction".

In similar motion in November a year ago, a vote for Zuma to stay garnered 214 votes, while 126 voted against. This is completely wrong.

She said she would not recuse herself from preceding over the motion as requested by some opposition parties, saying this had "no constitutional basis and is legally misplaced".

For Mbete the failure of the motion is a win-win situation.

It's nearly D-Day for South Africa's controversial first citizen.

The ANC welcomes the opportunity to once again use the occasion of the debate on the motion of no confidence to speak to these successes which are daily lived reality for many of our people.

Failure could however further isolate the ANC from its unhappy electorate.

"Zuma is likely to remain even if a few MPs vote against him".

Such an outcome is regarded as unlikely. And for Freedom Front leader Pieter Groenewald, Mbete's decision was the only rational one to take: "There's hope for democracy and the integrity of Parliament". "We can stand in queues to vote", he told the M&G.

"The speaker's decision was rationally seen in light of her arguments about the matter, and the FF Plus never thought there could be any other decision".

  • Rogelio Becker