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August 2017
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International News
SAfrica's Zuma to face secret ballot of no-confidence tomorrow
 
Johannesburg, Aug 7 (PTI) South Africa's parliament will vote by a secret ballot on a no-confidence motion brought against President Jacob Zuma tomorrow, a decision that could see some of his ruling party members voting for his removal.

The speaker of the parliament, Baleka Mbete, announced the move to hold a secret ballot this afternoon, ending weeks of speculation for the eighth motion of no confidence against Zuma.

Zuma, 75, and several of his Cabinet members have been accused of involvement in promoting "state capture exercises" that led to political upheaval, and due to which South Africa was downgraded to junk status by the ratings agency S&P Global in April.

After Mbete previously claimed she did not have the power to decide on a secret ballot, opposition parties approached the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court, which decreed that the parliament speaker did have such authority.

Tensions have been simmering within the factions of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) for months now amid huge public protests calling for Zuma to be removed.

Several ANC members of the parliament who publicly stated that they would vote with the opposition for Zuma's ouster received death threats, while others have said they would vote "with their conscience" on the day.

ANC leaders said any member who voted for the motion "would be disciplined", prompting the call for a secret ballot to avoid such action and intimidation.

The allied opposition parties need a number of votes form the majority ANC members in order for the motion to succeed.

"Members of the parliament take an oath of faithfulness to the Republic of South Africa, and obedience to the Constitution and laws, and there is no constitutional obligation for a member to swear allegiance to his or her political party," Mbete said in her announcement.

"Considerations of transparency and openness sometimes demand the display of courage and resoluteness to boldly advance the interest of those they represent, no matter the consequences; including the risk of dismissal for non- compliance with party instructions," she added.

Describing the prevailing mood in the country as "highly charged", Mbete said the outcome of the vote tomorrow "must be seen to be credible".

With countrywide protests planned across the country tomorrow in a coordinated effort by a civil society coalition to get Zuma to step down, his removal will signal the end of his entire cabinet and the installation of a new leadership.

But analysts said the final test would be when voting takes place tomorrow.


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