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South African MPs To Use Secret Ballot In Vote On Zuma

South African MPs To Use Secret Ballot In Vote On Zuma

Mr Zuma, dogged by corruption scandals and waning popularity, has faced public calls for his resignation by leading members of his own party, the African National Congress.

He frequently deviated from his scripted speech to remonstrate, passionately telling delegates that the vote of no confidence was about the removal of Zuma and dislodging the ANC, for which he received loud applause.

Africa's most industrialized economy has sunk into recession and had its credit rating downgraded to junk by two of the three main credit rating agencies.

But Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng found that while Mbete held the power to decide if the vote can be conducted by secret ballot, the discretion to do so remained hers. "This decision is about putting the resilience of our democratic institution to test".

However, recent reports indicated that she was having trouble in confirming the decision because it would result in her either betraying her word or her allegiances to the ANC.

Opposition parties have welcomed the decision by Mbete.

The ANC has 249 seats in the 400-seat parliament and the opposition controls 151 seats, so it would take 50 ANC lawmakers backing the opposition to vote out Zuma and his cabinet. But even if a few ANC members dare to break the party discipline and vote against Zuma, that would weaken the president politically and reduce his chances of serving until the end of his second term in 2019, analysts say.

"Tomorrow, on the 8th of the 8th in the 8th motion, we then continue to make sure that Zuma must be removed on behalf of the millions of South Africans".

Both the EFF and UDM have claimed that there are more than 60 ANC members who have guaranteed their support of the opposition parties motion, if it is held in secret.

For those ANC MPs anxious about supporting an opposition motion‚ they now have the option to abstain, meaning the ruling party will not have the absolute majority in support of Zuma as in previous cases.

"What is different and hopeful this time around is that we have ANC MPs speaking out, saying they will vote with the opposition".

ANC lawmakers appeared divided on the vote.

"Considerations of transparency and openness" are not always possible "where there are instances of intimidation", Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete said in Cape Town on Monday.

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