In due deference to the principle of separation of powers and not prescribing to the National Assembly how to conduct its business, the Court did not order that the Speaker of the National Assembly hold a secret ballot vote. Nonetheless, given that the Speaker had conceded that she was not averse to holding a secret ballot vote – it would then be irrational of her to then refuse the same when so requested by opposition parties. The adverse costs order, directed at the President and the Speaker, is an indication of how the Speaker should receive any requests for a secret ballot in a motion of no confidence. Above all, the decision makes clear – in the event of conflict between upholding constitutional values and party loyalty – the duty to serve the nation and act in the best interests of the nation should always prevail. 

By Ms Phephelaphi Dube, Director: Centre for Constitutional Rights