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Court hears case on Zuma confidence vote

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South Africa’s highest court weighed Monday whether lawmakers can cast secret ballots in a no-confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma, who faces growing criticism within the ruling ANC.

Several hundred protesters marched to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg in the latest demonstrations against Zuma, who has been implicated in a series of corruption scandals.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng adjourned the hearing after legal arguments ran into the evening. He gave no date for the court to announce its decision.

Opposition parties have lobbied for a secret ballot and called for African National Congress (ANC) lawmakers to “vote with their conscience”.

The ANC holds a large majority in parliament and Zuma has survived similar votes in the past, which have not been secret.

“ANC members of parliament will have to choose between what is best for themselves and what is best for South Africa,” Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party, told protesters.

“They did not swear (their oath of office) to be faithful to Jacob Zuma, or to the ANC… They promised to be faithful to South Africa.”

The case united DA protesters with marchers from the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters  party.

“If parliament fails to remove Zuma, then the people in the 2019 election will make sure that the ANC is voted out,” said EFF supporter Daniel Mninele, who travelled from Pretoria to rally outside the court.

The scheduled no-confidence debate has been postponed by parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete, who has said she has no powers to agree to a secret ballot.

Zuma’s sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan in March fuelled public anger over years of government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth.

AFP

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