Those ANC National Assembly caucus members who place their constitutional duties ahead of their party loyalties (as they should) have received good news from the Constitutional Court in its secret-vote judgment.
Whether that vote is eventually carried out in secret or not, they are now immune to being disciplined successfully for voting in favour of the motion.
More than 50 of them are likely to lose their parliamentary seats if the Jacob Zuma wrecking ball is allowed to continue swinging until 2019, so they really have nothing to lose in supporting the motion of no confidence.
Without the considerable burden of the Zuma baggage, the backbenchers stand a better chance of re-election in 2019.
If they organise themselves properly, those who vote with their uncaptured consciences can also negotiate their future free of any possible disciplinary action by strategically using their votes to support the election of the ANC candidate for the new president, an election that has to take place within 30 days of the success of a vote of no confidence.
Should the vote of no confidence fail, Zuma will find himself under cross-examination in Parliament under the glare of television cameras either in the removal proceedings that the EFF has in mind or in the four state-capture committee hearings.
Can the ANC afford the spectacle, and the windfall of votes for the opposition that well-directed questioning of Zuma will bring?
Surely even those craven members who still support him are able to see the folly of allowing this to happen.
Paul Hoffman SC Director, Accountability Now
Letter published in Business Day 28 June 2017