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Zuma, Mbete legal counsel concede: No downside to secret ballot

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CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete have made concessions through their legal counsel that the Speaker of Parliament has the discretion to allow for a secret ballot and that there is no disadvantage to this method of voting.

The Constitutional Court has reserved judgment in the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) bid to allow members of Parliament (MP) to vote in secret in a motion of no confidence in Zuma.

The Speaker has argued that the rules of Parliament don’t provide for a secret ballot.

Zuma's lawyer advocate Ishmael Semenya told the Constitutional Court it’s not true that voting through an open ballot would render Parliament unable to hold the president accountable.

“That logic does not follow. It can still hold them accountable through an open ballot.”

National Assembly Speaker Mbete's legal counsel advocate Marumo Moerane argued that the UDM jumped the gun by running to the courts when Parliament hasn't failed in its constitutional obligations.

In a surprising turn, the president’s lawyer conceded there was no downside to the secret ballot, which led the UDM to ask why president continued to oppose their application.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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