12 July 2017

South Africa: Debate - Zuma Must Go, but Secret Vote Holds Both Promise and Risks

Photo: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma (file photo).

It is still unclear whether Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete will allow a secret ballot in Parliament's upcoming vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma. If Mbete does allow for secrecy while voting, though, does that have the potential to set a dangerous precedent for South Africa's democracy? This was one of the questions under discussion on Tuesday night in Cape Town, where an occasionally heated event organised by a coalition of civil society groups saw UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, rogue ANC MP Makhosi Khoza and political analyst Steven Friedman thrash out the issues. By REBECCA DAVIS.

At a packed community hall in Salt River on Tuesday, both the audience and the panelists appeared to be of one mind on one issue: President Jacob Zuma must go. Whether this presidential unseating can be accomplished via a parliamentary vote of no confidence, however, was a different story.

Political analyst Steven Friedman said that he would be "prepared to take a large bet" that the vote, whether held in secrecy or not, would not produce the required outcome. Some members of the audience seemed similarly sceptical, pointing out that Zuma had survived seven such attempts in the past.

But United Democratic...

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