The United Democratic Movement (UDM) and African Transformation Movement (ATM) have asked the Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to allow for the use of a secret ballot in the removal of suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and ATM leader Vuyo Zungula wrote to the Speaker to say that because of a toxic environment they want a secret ballot.
Zungula asked the Speaker to make a decision soon and if she failed to allow a secret ballot, they will take the matter to court.
Both both Holomisa and Zungula said an open ballot would expose many members who served in the Section 194 committee and the Ethics Committee, and getting them to vote publicly will compromise the integrity of the process.
The vote will take place on Monday during the sitting of the National Assembly. Parliament will need a majority of two-thirds of its members to remove Mkhwebane.
In his letter to Mapisa-Nqakula, Zungula said it should not be difficult for the ANC and other parties to get a two-thirds majority because of the number of seats they have in the national assembly.
But they want a secret ballot.
“The ANC has 230 members of the National Assembly and the DA has 84 and the Freedom Front Plus has 10. Therefore, between these parties, they have a total of 324 members which is more than sufficient to constitute the required threshold of 267 votes for the removal of the public protector,” said Zungula.
Zungula said when they voted for the impeachment of President Cyril Ramaphosa, after an inquiry led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo found that he had a case to answer on Phala Phala, members of the ANC in parliament were threatened with redeployment or disciplinary action if they did not toe the party line.
He added that the chairperson of the section 194 committee, Qubudile Dyantyi and ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina were implicated in bribery allegations.
These were some of the issues that call for a secret ballot to avoid threats and intimidation against members of the ruling party.
Zungula said Mapisa-Nqakula must make the decision soon and if she refuses to allow a secret ballot, they will take the matter to court.
Holomisa said he agreed with objections raised by Zungula to have an open ballot.
He said the political environment was very toxic and they want the process to be beyond reproach.
Mkhwebane made an attempt to go back to the offices of the Public Protector this week, but she could not get in after acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka and President Cyril Ramaphosa told her she was not entitled to return to office.
Ramaphosa told her the process of her removal was not complete as parliament has not yet voted on it. The committee tabled its report that will be put to the vote on Monday.