As Members of Parliament (MPs) prepare to vote in a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, Speaker Baleka Mbete is yet to announce if this will be done in secret.
Mbete is set to hold a media briefing in Parliament on Monday afternoon to announce her decision on a request by opposition parties that MPs be allowed to vote in secret.
The Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), African Christian Democratic Party, and some members of the African National Congress (ANC), as well as the South African Communist Party (SACP), have indicated that they will vote against President Zuma.
Last week, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu warned party members against voting with the opposition, saying removing Zuma would be damaging for the country.
Meanwhile, the DA says Mbete is reckless for waiting until the 11th hour to make an announcement.
The party’s John Steenhuizen said: “There’s an important rule in politics and there’s a natural order that you need to take things. You put country first, party second, then self comes third.
“I really think that there comes a time where I think it’s in the best interest of South Africa for Zuma to go.”
The EFF has indicated it will take Mbete to court should she fail to grant the secret ballot.
WHAT THE MOTION COULD MEAN
If 201 MPs in the National Assembly vote to pass the motion of no confidence, Zuma will immediately cease to be the president and members of his Cabinet have to resign.
MPs would then have to elect a new president.
However, while opposition MPs and some ANC MPs may be able to vote Zuma out of power, it’s unlikely that they could agree on who should take over which could lead to an unpredictable situation.
It could also lead to the ANC splitting almost immediately before its December conference.
As both sides in the ANC may hold out the hope of winning a functional ANC in December, this may mean that even those ANC MPs who want Zuma out of power may feel they have to vote in his favour tomorrow simply to save the party.