Durban — The EFF and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) have called on the ANC Members of Parliament to vote with their conscience to adopt the Section 89 panel report so that President Cyril Ramaphosa can be removed through the impeachment process.
The report, with recommendations that the president has a case to answer, will be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday for adoption.
At a media briefing on Monday, EFF leader Julius Malema said it was important for ANC members to vote for the adoption of the report, saying if they did not they would have sold out the founder of the Constitution, Nelson Mandela, who inserted the impeachment clause of the head of state if he had violated the Constitution.
However, Malema sounded confident that the first step to getting rid of Ramaphosa would begin on Tuesday with the adoption of the report.
Many ANC members had promised to do the right thing, he said, and were adamant that they would vote with the opposition to adopt the report.
He was worried about the DA, which he said although it agreed, he was not sure whether they would support it.
At the weekend the DA said it would support the adoption, but differed with the EFF regarding what would happen afterwards.
The party said the DA wanted the dissolution of Parliament since it did not want Deputy President David Mabuza to take over from Ramaphosa. In terms of the Constitution, Mabuza is in line to take over should anything happen to Ramaphosa.
The EFF leader said he believed that those ANC members who had been calling for Ramaphosa to step down would vote for the adoption of the report even if the vote was by a show of hands. He reminded ANC MPs that if they voted against the report they would be in breach of the Constitution, and that would also undermine Parliament which formed the committee.
He argued that if Ramaphosa took the report on review, he would be taking Parliament to court, since the report belonged to Parliament, adding that his party was ready to meet him in court.
He also warned ANC MPs that should they decide not to support the adoption of the report, they would expose themselves as people who endorse corruption.
“Ramaphosa is as good as gone. We are confident that Parliament will adopt the report and move on to establish the impeachment committee irrespective of what the ANC NEC has decided. Ramaphosa will go at the end of the day,” said Malema.
He also dismissed calls for a fresh election spearheaded by the DA, which at the weekend called for the dissolution of Parliament and an early election.
Malema said Mabuza should take over, arguing that those against him taking over must produce evidence of corruption against him to prove that he was not suitable for the position.
ATM leader Vuyo Zungula, who has also been critical of Ramaphosa, called on all 400 MPs to vote for the report. He said his party was not disturbed by the refusal of a secret vote and still hoped the report would be voted on by the majority of members.
Parliament Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had rejected the request by the ATM for a secret vote, fuelling speculation that the ANC would vote against the report, which found that the president may have a case to answer.
At the time of publishing, it was not clear whether the ANC would instruct its members to adopt the report or not.
The party’s national executive committee had been locked in a meeting since Monday morning. Mabuza and other senior members were expected to address the party MPs in a virtual meeting on Monday night.
Reports coming out from the series of meetings at the weekend until Monday suggested the party was going to reject the panel’s report and ask MPs to vote against it. This was apparently prompted by the president’s U-turn on his rumoured resignation on Thursday.
Ramaphosa was said to have wanted to resign when his office announced that he was going to address the nation on Thursday – cancelled at the last minute.
For the report to be adopted it would need a simple majority of MPs to support it, which is 51%. Out of 400 MPs, the ANC has 230, the DA 84, the EFF 44, while smaller opposition parties share the balance. These numbers mean that the opposition desperately needs ANC members’ votes, but Malema said the opposition would hold a media briefing before the voting takes place.
If the report is adopted, the opposition will also have an uphill battle to convince more ANC MPs to vote for the impeachment since it needed a two-thirds majority.