The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, has replied to my request to expedite her decision on whether the DA’s Motion of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma, scheduled for 8 August 2017, should proceed via secret ballot. True to form, she has said nothing of significance.
In her written response, Mbete notes that the Constitutional Court “did not prescribe a specific time-period within which such a decision must be made” and wryly adds that “a decision … will be made and communicated at the earliest opportunity”.
The DA is fully cognisant of the fact that no time-frame was set. Nevertheless, it is incumbent on Mbete to act in the best interest of the Legislature and the Constitution, and avoid unnecessary litigation by parties that may feel that the timing of her decision offers an advantages to her own political party by limiting the rights of other parties to review her decision in time.
Mbete has displayed astonishing arrogance by setting political parties deadlines by which they should forward their view on the secret ballot, but refuses to accept deadlines of her own. Like Marie Antoinette, she wants her cake and eat it too.
There is no reason why Mbete cannot make her decision on the secret ballot now. She should stop playing games and must tell South Africans how their public representative will be voting on 8 August.
John Steenhuisen MP
Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance