South African MPs will vote in secret on a motion of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, the parliament’s speaker has announced.
Baleka Mbete made the ruling after opposition parties took the case to the Constitutional Court.
They believe that in a secret ballot, MPs from the governing African National Congress (ANC) would be more likely to vote against the president.
Mr Zuma has survived several previous votes of no-confidence.
Ms Mbete’s decision took many by surprise and injects a new element of uncertainty into the proceedings against the president.
The decision taken by speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete means that South Africa could have a new president by Tuesday afternoon, albeit on a temporary basis.
According to the constitution, she would take over for 30 days if President Jacob Zuma is voted out of power.
The whole country has gone into millions of frantic mini-huddles talking about what the future holds.
The general view is that the level of toxicity within the governing African National Congress is so bad that nobody knows for sure if President Jacob Zuma will survive this one.
He has survived seven previous motions of no-confidence.
If President Zuma is voted out power on Tuesday, he would no longer be national president but would remain ANC leader, retaining considerable influence over his replacement. BBC