Johannesburg - The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has called for a secret ballot to be used in voting on the Section 194 Committee recommendation for the removal of suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
ATM leader Vuyo Zungula said he has written to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to motivate the vote to be done by secret ballot.
He said this is to eliminate bias and ensure fairness towards Mkhwebane, who he claims has been prejudiced by the committee in the past few weeks following allegations against the chairperson of the committee, Richard Dyantyi, who has been accused of soliciting a bribe to make the inquiry go away.
Dyantyi has strongly denied the allegations against him.
In a letter dated August 4, Zungula lays out his grounds for requesting a secret ballot before the vote in Parliament next week.
“From its inception, if not before, the lead-up to and the Section 194 process itself have been characterised by allegations of politically predetermined outcomes on various grounds.
“It is now an open secret that the complaint was laid by and/or on behalf of the second largest political party in the National Assembly with the support of the biggest political party, namely the DA and the ANC, respectively, as well as the Freedom Front Plus,” Zungula said in his letter to the Speaker.
Mkhwebane’s fate is expected to be decided on Monday next week, using an open voting system.
The committee’s report, which recommended the removal of Mkhwebane, will be brought for debate and the assembly’s final approval.
Zungula said he was afraid that the ANC would repeat the “party line” stance that it used recently to protect President Cyril Ramaphosa from being held accountable for the Phala Phala Section 89 inquiry report.
“The ANC will notoriously use the ‘party line’ method of coercing its census members to vote in favour of the removal motion.
“This is clearly predictable based only on the fact that the finding of guilt and the adoption of the report under discussion were passed with the undivided vote of, inter alia, the ANC, the DA and FF Plus members of the committee.
“Given the unprecedentedly large number of members of the committee, it is undesirable that the members who voted in favour of the removal motion at committee level should again predictably and openly add their votes in the National Assembly. This will only serve to undermine the integrity of the process in the eyes of the public,” Zungula said.
In terms of Section 194 of the Constitution, at least a two-thirds majority vote is needed to remove a public protector from office.
Zungula said the ANC has 230 MPs, while the DA has 84 and the FF+ has 10, adding that therefore the DA, ANC and FF+ have 327 members, which is more than the sufficient requirement of 267 MPs to vote for the removal of Mkhwebane.