Speaker Baleka Mbete has done exactly the right thing by allowing a secret ballot in the parliamentary vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma. Her reasoning clearly echoes the reasoning set out by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. It weighs and takes into account both sides of the argument: the need for transparency and openness in the business of Parliament; and the need to enable members to exercise their conscience in an environment of toxicity and intimidation. In her thinking, she recognises the primary point made by the court: that once an MP is sworn in, his or her allegiance is not first and foremost to their party but to the Constitution and the oath of office. While Mbete took her decision based firmly on legal advice, it must be recognised that in doing so, she personally has taken an important political step in putting the interests of the country ahead of those of her party. It would not have been easy. Thinking along these lines is foreign in a party such as the AN...

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