On 15 May 2017, the Constitutional Court heard arguments for and against the motion of a secret ballot vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma. The case was brought to the Constitutional Court by the United Democratic Movement (UDM), backed by other opposition parties.
This was done after National Assembly Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete refused the motion to conduct the vote under secret ballot in Parliament earlier this year.
A few hours before the hearing began, opposition parties and civil society organisations marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg to Constitutional Court in Braamfontein in support of the motion of secret ballot vote of no confidence. The march was led by opposition parties leaders, Mmusi Maimane (Democratic Alliance), Julius Malema (Economic Freedom Fighters) and other leaders. Supporters chanted struggle songs in the streets of Johannesburg and held placcards written “Fire Zuma”.
Malema, addressing marchers at Mary Fitzgerald Square, said; “Zuma said he will not go until the ANC tells him to go but we doubt that he will not go even when Parliament vote him out”.
When the march arrived at Con Court, Maimane said “we are here to defend our freedom and the future of our country that lies in the hands of 400 members of Parliament. ANC Members of Parliament will have to choose between what is best for themselves and what is best for South Africa”.
The UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa said that “We believe that a secret vote will provide the safest space for every individual MP to be guided by his or her free conscience, not by the dictates of political bosses who issue instructions to Parliament from party headquarters.”
The Constitutional Court heard arguments for and against the secret ballot, with Advocate Dali Mpofu representing the UDM. Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng led the questioning of both counsels, and the hearing continued into the early hours of the night. The Constitutional Court has reserved judgment in the secret ballot case.