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ATM wants secret ballot on removal of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Published Sep 6, 2023


The ATM wants parliament to conduct a secret ballot on the voting for the removal of suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Monday.

Parliament decided last Thursday that the voting method will be done via a roll call, during which MPs will attend in person and have their names called to vote in favour or against Mkhwebane’s removal from office.

ATM leader Vuyo Zungula made the request in a letter he wrote on Monday to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Zungula said the Section 194 Inquiry was characterised by allegations of a politically predetermined outcome.

He said the complaint lodged by the DA against Mkhwebane had the backing of the ANC and the Freedom Front Plus.

“The ANC has 230 members of the National Assembly, the DA has 84 and the Freedom Front Plus 10.

“Therefore, between the two parties, they have a total of 327 members, which is more than sufficient to constitute the required threshold of 267 votes for the removal of the public protector.”

Zungula said the ANC was set to use the “party line” method of coercing its MPs to vote in favour of the removal motion.

“In aggravation of the situation, the secretary-general of the ANC, who is its official spokesperson and effective chief executive officer, made reckless pronouncements, inter alia, at the recent ANC Western Cape conference, prematurely pronouncing on the guilt of advocate Mkhwebane and calling her names.

“This will be read as a direct or indirect instruction to vote in favour of the removal motion,” he said.

He said ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula was quoted in a Sunday newspaper, threatening ANC MPs on their voting duties on September 11, and made reference to the fate suffered by those who voted with their consciences in the Phala Phala matter last December.

“The president of the ANC is widely and reasonably perceived to be hostile to and biased against the Public Protector due to her performance of her duties in respect of, inter alia, the CR17 and Phala Phala investigations in which he is personally implicated.

“Voting members of the ANC may well be inclined to please their president by being openly seen to vote according to his perceived wishes,” he said.

“Since the ANC is currently going through its list process aimed at deciding which members will be returned to Parliament within the next few months. The timing of this particular vote adds to the dire need for a secret ballot,” he said.

Zungula said it would be irrational for Mapisa-Nqakula to decide that the vote should be conducted by open show of hands and not by secret ballot.

“Kindly inform us of your decision as soon as possible as a matter of urgency so that, in the event of a decision not to grant this request, we may have sufficient time to take the appropriate legal steps to reverse your decision,” he said.

Zungula also asked that the date for vote for the removal of Mkhwebane from office should be postponed to allow Mapisa-Nqakula “to make a rational decision and/or ourselves to exercise our rights to access the courts should that prove to be necessary”.

Cape Times