Lekota: ConCourt judgment on secret ballot a triumph for democracy

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Parliament, 09 February 2017 -Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota tells President Jacob Zuma that he's broken his oath of office.

JOHANNESBURG – Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota has described the Constitutional Court judgment on the use of a secret ballot in parliament to remove the president as a triumph for democracy.

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that Speaker Baleka Mbete was wrong to say that a secret ballot vote was not allowed in a motion of no confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma.

Lekota stressed that MPs should put the country ahead of their political parties once they have taken their oath of office.

“The court has made it clear that those of us who are elected, once elected and having taken our oath of office, owe to the people of South Africa as a whole that no political party can compel a MP to vote against their conscience and against their judgment,” Lekota was speaking outside the Constitutional Court minutes after the judgment was handed down.

“Now they will be able to exercise those 69 votes without fear of repercussions and the threats that were issued against the caucuses and especially those of the ruling party, those fears no longer have a place in our democracy.”

WATCH: Speaker has power to decide on secret ballot

The Democratic Alliance said it will file for another motion for a secret ballot against Zuma as soon as possible.

The party said opposition parties in South Africa have made history.

"We brought the motion of no confidence, we wish to now write to the speaker and have that motion scheduled as soon as possible, said DA federal chairperson James Selfe.

“When the speaker now makes the decision on whether or not it should be an open ballot or a secret ballot, that the decision is a rational decision, supports the constitution, supports freedom, supports fairness and supports the people of South Africa.”

The EFF has asked MPs to listen to their voters and vote Zuma out of power or face occupying position benches in parliament like they are in the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay metros.

READ: Holomisa delighted by Concourt ruling

Former ANC MP Ben Turok welcomed the Constitutional Court's decision, however he is doubtful ANC MPs will turn against Zuma.

Turok says that when MPs don't toe the line, they are likely to lose their jobs or have disciplinary measures instituted against them.

In his judgment, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said a motion of no confidence in the president has more devastating consequences for government than an impeachment.

He stressed that the motion of no confidence does not spare the entire cabinet as they all removed if it is passed.