Johannesburg - The Economic Freedom Fighters says it has already prepared legal papers to interdict National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete should she refuse to allow a secret ballot for the August 8 motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
“The papers are ready. When she gives that letter, we will not even read the whole thing, but just the conclusion. Once she says ‘open vote’, we are serving her.
“She has to give rational reasons. Failure to do that, and we will take her to court. We know she is unreasonable,” said EFF leader Julius Malema.
In an hour long interview ahead of the EFF’s fourth year anniversary celebrations in Durban next week, Malema told News 24 that they expected Mbete to make her decision on the eve of the debate.
“We will meet in court immediately, because we know she will do it on the eve. If their reasons are rational, why don’t they give us the decision in advance?” Malema asked.
He said they would deploy people to be on standby to serve Mbete with the papers immediately.
“They run the state like a mafia state. We will have two people all over, to serve her with the papers, to interdict her,” Malema said.
In June, the Constitutional Court ruled that Mbete has the power to decide on whether the vote can be secret or not.
Following the judgment, nine out of 13 parties represented in Parliament told Mbete that they would prefer a secret ballot, while the African National Congress and Democratic Alliance said they would abide by her decision.
Last Friday July 14, Mbete told journalists that she would not say when she would make her decision known. Parliament is currently in recess and resumes on August 1.
Zuma’s eighth motion of no confidence comes amid intensified calls from within the ANC for him to step down from leadership.
This week, ANC MPs Makhosi Khoza and Pravin Gordhan called for Zuma to step down, igniting the fury of Luthuli House. The KwaZulu-Natal ANC called for disciplinary action to be taken against them.
The ANC has said that any of its MPs who vote in support of the opposition’s motion of no confidence will face disciplinary action, with secretary general Gwede Mantashe earlier labelling it the “worst betrayal”.
In the interview, Malema indicated that the EFF was rethinking its strategy of leaving the House when Zuma appears in the National Assembly.
The EFF, which has on previous occasions disrupted Zuma’s questions and answers in Parliament, decided to boycott these sittings, saying they didn’t recognise him as president.
‘Defeat of Zuma is a defeat of corruption’
Malema said the party misses no opportunity to interrogate Zuma because “nothing unique comes of his mouth.
“But we have been thinking that his next appearance, we must go and attend to him, just to put him in his place. Not because we recognise him, but just to remind him that he is not all that,” Malema said.
He said they still believed that their current strategy was effective, as Zuma was “humiliated.
“It has an impact. A president that addresses Parliament when other parties are not there, it’s hurting him. It will go down in history, but we will go to confront him and show him we are not scared of him,” Malema said.
If the motion of no confidence fails, they still had the Constitutional Court bid to impeach Zuma, as part of a multi-pronged strategy to force him to step down. The strategy also included nationwide protests, planned for August 8, when the motion will be heard.
“We don’t give up on a cause we believe in. A defeat of Zuma is a defeat of corruption. Once you give up on Zuma [stepping down], you give up on corruption, and if you give up on corruption, you become a part of it,” Malema said.