The leader of Economic Freedom Fighter Julius Malema has thrown the ruling African National Congress into a state of confusion after making a public statement, where he confidently  said if Speaker Baleka Mbete accedes to a secret ballot‚ the motion of no confidence would get sufficient support from ANC MPs to vote Zuma out of power. He claimed he had spoken to over 60 ANC MPs‚ including people in cabinet‚ who indicated that they would support the opposition’s motion if they were allowed to vote in secret.

“I’m telling you‚ on the 9th of August‚ South Africa will have a new president‚” Malema told his supporters.

This should cause further consternation amongst the ANC leadership‚ which has threatened and tried to strong-arm its MPs to oppose the motion. The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal province has instituted disciplinary action against MP Makhosi Khoza for her outspoken views about Zuma.

While Mbete would ironically take over the reins should Zuma be voted out‚ she is worried about the consequences of allowing the secret ballot on her floundering presidential campaign. Because of the turbulence that would ensue if Zuma is toppled‚ Mbete is worried there would be a backlash against her in ANC ranks.

Mbete has asked for time to consider the matter. There would no doubt have been efforts to persuade her against the secret ballot during the weekend’s ANC national executive committee lekgotla.