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Press Release: UPM wel­come Con­sti­tu­tional Court’s judg­ment in the Secret Bal­lot case

For Imme­di­ate Release: 23 June 2017

 

The Unem­ployed People’s Move­ment wel­comes the judg­ment of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court in United Demo­c­ra­tic Move­ment v Speaker of the National Assem­bly and Oth­ers. The judg­ment is a vin­di­ca­tion of its posi­tion on the use of secret bal­lots in motions of no con­fi­dence.

 

The UPM, rep­re­sented by the Legal Resources Cen­tre, par­tic­i­pated in the case as a friend of the court.

 

The UPM argued that s102 of the Con­sti­tu­tion per­mits motions of no con­fi­dence to be con­ducted through a secret bal­lot. UPM argued that prop­erly inter­preted, the National Assem­bly Rules con­fer dis­cre­tion on the speaker to per­mit votes to be con­ducted by secret bal­lot. The court embraced this argu­ment.

 

UPM is also pleased that the court accepted its sub­mis­sions which argued that, when the speaker exer­cises her dis­cre­tion, she should take into account var­i­ous com­pet­ing fac­tors such as the need for Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment to vote with­out fear of uncon­sti­tu­tional reprisals on the one hand, and the need to ensure that our pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives are account­able to the peo­ple through the trans­parency which may come through open bal­lot vot­ing.

 

In its sub­mis­sions, the UPM raised the point that allow­ing Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to con­duct their busi­ness secretly may under­mine the people’s right to an informed vote and encour­age under­hand horse trad­ing and vote buy­ing, which may go unde­tected. The Con­sti­tu­tional Court acknowl­edged this point, not­ing that secret bal­lot vot­ing has the poten­tial to result in a “money inspired sham.”

 

The UPM wel­comes the well-reasoned judg­ment as a tri­umph of con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ple over pol­i­tics. 

 

 “We wel­come the his­toric ver­dict by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court. We call upon the speaker of the national assem­bly and the rul­ing party to be on the right side of his­tory and act in the best inter­ests of the peo­ple, through allow­ing a secret bal­lot in the upcom­ing motion of no con­fi­dence vote against the cur­rent Pres­i­dent.  The cor­rup­tion that is cur­rently occur­ring in this coun­try is unac­cept­able and incom­pat­i­ble with the demo­c­ra­tic objec­tives of our Con­sti­tu­tion. They have an oblig­a­tion to stop the rot.” – UPM’s, Ayanda Kota

 

ENDS

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NOTE: For more infor­ma­tion please con­tact:

  • Michael Tsele (Can­di­date Attor­ney, Gra­ham­stown) This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 046 622 9230
  • Claire Martens (Com­mu­ni­ca­tions offi­cer) This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 082 470 1187

 

The LRC is an inde­pen­dent, non-profit, pub­lic inter­est law clinic, which uses law as an instru­ment of jus­tice to pro­vide legal ser­vices for the vul­ner­a­ble.

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