EFF heads to court to force secret ballot in vote of no confidence against North West premier

The Economic Freedom Fighters is heading to court to apply for an urgent interdict to force the speaker of the North West legislature to hold a secret ballot in the vote of no confidence against Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

The party said it had requested the speaker to allow for a secret vote, but their request was turned down. The legislature is due to hear the motion on Tuesday.

"We have instructed our attorneys and they are busy finalizing documents, we are going to have to interdict the speaker," EFF provincial leader Bessie Diale told News24.

READ: NEC must intervene to save North West ANC

Diale said the motion could be postponed, depending on the court ruling.

"The secret ballot is important, as we anticipate some votes from ANC members in order for our motion to succeed. Unfortunately, we can't put them at risk of being fired or being penalised for that, so we need to protect all our voters in this respect to ensure that they are free," Diale said.

The EFF, which is the official opposition in the province, has five seats in the 33-seat legislature. It would need a least 8 African National Congress MPLs to vote with them, along with the Democratic Alliance's four votes and the Freedom Front Plus's one vote, for motion to succeed.

READ: Knives are out for Supra

The DA has already agreed to vote in support of the EFF motion, and talks are apparently underway with the Freedom Front Plus.

The ANC has 23 seats in the legislature.

The Constitutional Court set a precedent last year, saying the speaker of the National Assembly had the powers to decide on whether a vote should be secret or open, after opposition parties took her to court.

'ANC MPLs must vote against it'

Last week, the ANC convened a special provincial working committee meeting with NEC deployees, where it said that the EFF motion must be defeated.

"All ANC MPLs must vote against it," the statement by acting ANC North West secretary Suzan Dantjie said.

Diale claimed that the meetings were aimed at intimidating ANC MPLs to stop them from voting with their "conscience".

Last month, News24 reported that the walls were closing in on Mahumapelo, with detractors and former allies inside and outside the legislature plotting to oust him.

The province has been in the news lately.

The Hawks raided the North West director-general’s office in March, looking for documents related to the multimillion-rand IT contract with Nepo Data Dynamic, which was tasked with aligning all government IT systems in the province.

The legislature has also laid a number of complaints with the Hawks, including over the multimillion-rand Mediosa contract - a Gupta-linked company that is said to have received a R30m advance from the North West health department, a day before it started operating its mobile clinic in the province.

Last week, ANC Youth League president Collen Maine accused Mahumapelo of introducing him to the Gupta family.

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