South African Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete has chose to postpone debate and vote on the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, Parliament said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Parliament said that Mbete was not opposed to a motion of no confidence in Zuma being held by secret ballot, but was rather not Constitutionally empowered to approve such a vote.
"The Speaker's decision follows the request by the Democratic Alliance, under whose leader the Motion was tabled, for the motion to be postponed pending the conclusion of the Constitutional Court application by the United Democratic Movement (UDM)".
In his affidavit, Zuma argues that there's no provision in the constitution that permits voting through a secret ballot in motions of no confidence in the president, reports TimesLive. "It is a coup because President Zuma hasn't done anything‚" he said.
The UDM asked the ConCourt to hear its case that the ballot, which will probably now be held in May for the court to hear submissions, should be held in secret as ANC MPs were being intimidated over voting with their conscience.
Postponed motions remain on the programming system, blocking any lawmaker from tabling a similar motion until the current one is debated and voted on, according to the statement.
He said the fact that a motion of no confidence, for example, required the support of the majority to succeed did not mean that it was unconstitutional.
All opposition parties have vowed to vote in favour of the motion and appealed to the ANC to do the same, as the party has the majority vote in Parliament. It would have been in the ANC's political interest, having closed ranks around Zuma and his controversial reshuffle at last week's national working committee (NWC), to go to the no confidence motion with a three-line whip, which compels all ANC MPs to be present unless ill or on government business, and toe the party line - to vote against the motion in a publicly recorded process.
She also said the UDM should have approached the legislature's rules committee before taking legal action. "If the speaker does not agree then we and the UDM would have to seek a court interdict".
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the apparent confusion showed how crucial the court decision was to the no confidence vote.
"You can check on Section 39 which deals with the removal of the President, you can check with Section 102 which deals with the motion of no confidence against the President".