Lead South Africa

Chief Whip’s office welcomes the secret ballot decision

Sello Theletsane
The Office of the ANC Chief Whip notes the decision of the Speaker of National Assembly, comrade Baleka Mbete that voting on the motion of no confidence in the President scheduled for tomorrow, 8 August 2017, will be by secret ballot.
“As the ANC in Parliament we have always maintained that we will support whatever decision the Speaker takes on this matter. We have long stated that we are not adverse to a secret or open ballot”.
“Whilst we acknowledge that there are genuine grievances by our people and various organisations around state capture and the resultant alleged corruption in various entities of government, we reiterate that in-depth investigations around these revelations must be conducted inclusive of the establishment of an urgent judicial commission of inquiry”, said the office of the ANC Chief Whip.
“This motion by the Democratic Alliance, who are our political nemesis is a political ploy designed to undermine our popularly elected government, fracture and weaken the ANC with an aim of removing it from government by any means outside of general elections.  This motion is therefore in the interest of the Democratic Alliance and opposition forces and not in the interest of our country”.
“We reiterate our stance that the ANC will vote against this motion. We will not vote with the opposition to collapse our democratically elected government”.
“We have also noted the online circulation of a list purporting to have 95 ANC members of Parliament who will vote in favour of this motion. This list is nothing but fake news to the extent that some of the people on the list have long left Parliament including comrade Joyce Moloi-Moropa. The other member included on the list is a member whom we buried this past week, comrade Trevor Bonhomme. This shows the utter desperation of our detractors”.
“We have full confidence in our ANC members of Parliament. This motion, just like others before it, will be defeated”, said the Chief Whip’s Office in their statement.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) Ms Baleka Mbete has announced that voting on the motion of no confidence in the President would be by secret ballot, after Members of the NA have debated the motion. The sitting today, to consider the motion, starts at 14.00.

Section 102 of the Constitution provides for motions of no confidence in the President and the NA Rules provide for electronic or manual voting, in accordance with a procedure predetermined by the Speaker and directives to be announced by the Presiding Officer.
The key elements of the procedure for voting by secret ballot are set out below.
Preparation for voting
After the debate on a motion of no confidence, business will be suspended in order to allow for preparation of the NA Chamber for a secret ballot vote.
Bells will be rung to alert Members to the resumption of business and the doors of the NA Chamber will be locked for voting.
The Speaker will announce the procedure to be followed for the casting of votes.
Ballot papers and boxes
The question to be voted upon will be printed on the ballot paper, with the following options: YES, NO or ABSTAIN.
There will be two ballot boxes and four voting booths, of which one will be wheelchair accessible.
The Speaker will direct that the empty boxes be shown to Members and, thereafter, sealed with cable ties.
Process in the chamber
A control sheet will be prepared beforehand with Members’ names.
Members will be called in alphabetic order to collect ballot papers from the voting table.
Each ballot paper issued will be stamped before being given to a Member.
Names of Members issued with ballot papers will be crossed out on the control sheet.
Members will proceed to one of the four booths and will vote by making a clear mark or cross alongside the YES, NO or ABSTAIN option.
Each Member present must vote and may only vote once.
Once all Members present have voted, the Speaker will direct that the ballot boxes be closed and sealed.
The opening slit on the lid of the ballot box (for insertion of ballot papers) will also be sealed after the ballots are cast.
The Speaker will request each party to designate one Whip or representative to witness the counting process.
Business will be suspended for counting.
Counting room
A counting room will be set aside and monitored by the Serjeant-at-arms and the Parliamentary Protection Services.
Counting of the ballot papers will take place under the supervision of the Speaker and in the presence of the Whips or party representatives.
All ballot boxes will be opened in the presence of the Speaker, Whips or party representatives.
Votes will be sorted, counted and audited in the presence of the Speaker, Whips or party representatives.
The Secretary to the National Assembly will sign-off the result before handing it over to the Speaker.
No one is to disclose the results, in any way whatsoever, before the Speaker announces the results in the Assembly.
No one may use any electronic devices in the counting room.
Invalid ballot papers
A ballot paper is invalid –
If it is not stamped
If it is unmarked or
If a Member has signed his or her name, or made more than one mark in recording his or her vote.
Announcement of results
Bells will be rung to alert members to the resumption of business.
Once business resumes, the Speaker will announce the results in the NA Chamber.
Storage of voting results
The ballot papers will be stored in archive boxes, which will be sealed with cable ties and wax and stored in a safe.
The archive boxes may only be opened by order of the Speaker or a court of law.
Unforeseen procedural matters
The Speaker may permit a discussion of the question of procedure and may limit participation in, and the duration of, the discussion in such manner as he or she deems fit.

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