President Jacob Zuma will face his 8th motion of no confidence at 2pm today, but this time it’s a bit different. The procedure of removing a president by a secret ballot is new for South Africa, here’s how it will work.

The National Assembly will shut and lock its doors to commence with the vote of no confidence after a debate by members of parliament (MPs) on the motion of no confidence. Baleka Mbete, the Speaker, will then announce the procedure to be followed.

The Freedom Front Plus party has expressed concern that the secrecy of the vote might be compromised, but Parliament explained on Tuesday morning how carefully the process will run.

“All MPs will be called in alphabetical order and they will be given a ballot for their vote” says associate lecturer of political science at Wits University, Thokozani Chilenga.

The ballot paper with the options of Yes; No; and Abstain will be handed to the MPs, with a stamp upon the ballot paper to verify it. Once the MPs have made their vote, they will place their papers into a box while party chief whips will monitor the voting process in order to avoid irregularities.

Once all MPs have voted, the speaker will give the instruction to close the ballot boxes and the counting of the votes will begin.

The ballot counting will take place in a counting room that has been set aside, and will commence under the supervision of the speaker, party whips or representatives, and Parliamentary Protection Services. Votes will be counted and audited and the secretary of the National Assembly will sign off the results and hand them over to the speaker – only the speaker has the right to announce the results to the assembly.

The results will then be announced by the speaker to the National Assembly and ballot papers will be stored in archive boxes, sealed with cable ties and wax, and placed in a safe. No electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets will be allowed into the counting room in order to prevent an exchange of information on the counting process and results. Ballots that do not have a stamp on them, if they are unmarked and/or if an MP has made more than one mark on the paper, will be regarded as invalid ballots.

Photography BBC News

 

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