South Africa’s politicians react to Secret Ballot ruling with subtweets

south africa politicians secret ballot julius malema

The Secret Ballot (or #SecretBallot) ruling has come and gone but the reaction from politicians are only now filtering through social media.

To clarify, Chief Justice Mogoeng has ruled that Baleka Mbete does in fact have power to declare a secret ballot during the motion of no confidence against President Zuma. Previously she cited the law as a limiting factor.

For some, this is a clear win for South Africa’s justice system, but it also now puts emphasis on Mbete — she can now declare a secret ballot, or choose not to.

As for South Africa’s other politicians, the ruling was a victory, a contentious issue, and a reason to engage in a little subtweeting.

Julius Malema vs Fikile Mbalula: the subtweet saga

As for the latter, we’re talking about EFF leader Julius Malema and current police minister Fikile Mbalula’s tweets.

Mbalula, who has never been shy to smash that tweet button, welcomed the ruling but also threw shade on opposition parties.

“South Africans must guard separation of powers jealously. Mogoeng took the right steps today.We welcome this #SecrerBallot ruling,absolutely [sic],” he tweeted.

Malema wasn’t having it.

Mbalula responded.

As did Malema.

But Mbalula had the final word.

“I don’t know where drinking fits in. Last time I checked you were my drinking partner,” he tweets.

Campaigning, victory speeches and even less confidence

Other politicians refrained from subtweeting and took to campaigning instead, like DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

“My vote is not #secret. Zuma must go,” he tweets, ending the line with #change19.

The EFF members were seemingly in full voice on Twitter. Floyd Shivambu praised Justice Mogoeng’s ruling, stating that “Superior Logic always triumphs!”

The Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula welcomed the ruling.

The party’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi suggested that the decision calls to question Mbete’s “capacity as speaker”.

The UDM’s president Bantu Holomisa took to Facebook with a longer statement.

He suggests that the UDM “has been vindicated with the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the Speaker of the National Assembly could facilitate a secret ballot in a no-confidence motion in President Zuma.”

“We thank our legal team, as well as political parties and civil society organisations who supported us all the way,” he adds.

The DA’s chief whip John Steenhuizen, like Ndlozi, also called into question Mbete’s competence as Speaker of Parliament.

“Once again the Speaker being schooled by the Concourt in how to do her job. When does it start getting embarrassing???,” he tweets.

The ANC and DA respond

And as for parties’ responses, the ANC’s official Twitter account led the charge with a fiercely worded tweet in all-caps.


The party’s Parliamentary account was a bit more subdued.

Finally, the DA reiterated the message of its leader Maimane.

Andy Walker, former editor


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