Saturday, March 26, 2022

National Assembly Speaker rejects DA's request for a closed vote in motion of no confidence in the cabinet

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has rejected the Democratic Alliance’s request for an in-person ballot procedure in next week’s motion of no confidence in the cabinet.

The party’s chief whip, Natasha Mazzone wrote a letter to the speaker asking for the motion to take place in person and for the ministers to be excluded.

‘’The Speaker on 18 March 2022 responded to the DA’s letter, dated 15 March 2022, in which Ms Mazzone contends that the secret ballot voting procedure on the motion will ensure absolute security and freedom of vote, and further states that there is no chance that a member would stand up against their chief whip to vote differently,’’ said Parliament in a statement.

Mapisa-Nqakula recently declined an African Transformation Movement (ATM) request for a secret ballot on the motion of no confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa.

‘’In arriving at the decision to decline the request, the Speaker said she gave regard to relevant judgements, in particular the case of The United Democratic Movement v Speaker of the National Assembly [2017] and the African Transformation Movement v Speaker of the National Assembly [2021], dealing with the question of secret balloting for motions of no confidence.’’

The ATM then took the Speaker’s decision on review, and the matter will be heard in the Western Cape High Court on 28 March.

“It is clear from these judgments, that I should take into account the prevailing environment in the country, and how these circumstances might impact negatively on the ability of members to exercise their vote freely”, she said.

Mapisa-Nqakula said she also considered each of the various factors set out in these judgements which are to be taken into account in the exercise of her discretion.

“I am concerned that a secret voting procedure may facilitate the possibility of negative practices aimed at influencing members to vote in a particular manner, since members will be shielded from scrutiny and accountability to the people they represent for exercise of that constitutional duty”, she said.

The Speaker further explained why an open vote is important.

“I consider that our democracy will be best served by members of the Assembly who demonstrate openly that, in the event of a conflict between upholding constitutional values and party loyalty, they would follow the values and dictates of the Constitution over the political party loyalty, irrespective of the consequences that could befall their political career prospects individually”, she concluded.

Both motions are scheduled for debate on 30 March in the NA at 2 pm.

 

PICTURE Courtesy of PA: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Done By: Mitchum George

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