D-day for the decision on whether the National Assembly vote should be open or secret for Tuesday’s no-confidence motion in President Jacob Zuma has arrived. Speaker Baleka Mbete and the ANC will ignore the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Practices Act at their peril. This is because the act, whose relevance was highlighted in these columns last week, raises immediate spectres: • As chair of the ANC, which issued the threat (illegal under the act) for forced obedience to its party line, Mbete cannot possibly make the impartial decision required of a speaker. She is too conflicted not to recuse herself. • Any attempt by ANC officials to discipline MPs who vote with their conscience, against the party line, will make these officials accessories after the fact under sections 20 and 21 of the act. • MPs threatened with disciplinary action will have a perfect defence, ie that the ANC cannot punish them for their refusal to contravene the act. • In order to avoid its own contravention...

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