South Africa’s top court is expected to rule on whether a vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma can be conducted via a secret ballot. Pressure is mounting on Zuma to step down, particularly after his recent controversial cabinet reshuffle.
Opposition parties want to hold a vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma and they want to execute the plan in secret. They believe that would allow MPs from the ruling African National Congress to vote in favor of ousting Zuma without fear of retribution.
The president's cabinet reshuffle, in particular the axing of finance minister Pravin Gordhan, has outraged many, even including some senior members of the African National Congress.
The motion of no confidence was due to be heard on April 18, but it's been postponed to allow the Constitutional Court to decide whether or not it can be held by secret ballot. President Zuma is opposing that court bid.
Meanwhile, the ANC has closed ranks, indicating that its MPs are bound by the party's National Working Committee decision, saying their vote is not free. The ruling party wants to use its majority to quash the motion. The ANC holds 249 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly.
If the motion of no confidence succeeds, President Jacob Zuma must resign, then the speaker of parliament becomes acting president until MPs elect a new head of state.
The Constitutional Court decision is expected later this week.