“… a vote against the resolution will weaken important institutions of our democracy and further entrench a culture of corruption and entitlement.” Cheryllyn Dudley
Sadly the situation regarding the future of our Public Protector and of our democracy hangs precariously in the balance in no small way, once again, because the DA chose to prioritise their own narrow agenda over the countries best interests.
The DA’s track record of opposition for the sake of opposition and only proposing ‘solutions’ to problems if it fosters disunity in the ranks of the ANC or any other party for that matter is well known. Tragically last week they played their ‘kiss of death card’ on President Ramaphosa by insinuating that Ramaphosa was cosying up to the DA. Now their usual political game playing has distorted the politics around the Mkhwebane case.
MPs will soon vote on whether the process of investigating the fitness for office of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane should continue. The problem is ANC members now face a predicament where they feel that a vote for the investigation, will be a vote to destroy the ANC which, not surprisingly they see as the the DA’s agenda. Now the merits of the case against Mkhwebane and her incompetence, (conveniently for Ace Magashule and the anti-Ramaphosa faction), are obscured if not out of the picture.
How I wish the DA would place the best interests of our country above political point -scoring. I have struggled over the years – not with being able to respect individual DA Leaders and members BUT – with my total anathema or vehement dislike of their politics.
Having said this, I do understand full well that the DA strategy does get them votes, but for me the cost is too high when our #shared future is at stake.
Last week, an independent panel comprising former Constitutional Court Justice Bess Nkabinde, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza (who is about to be appointed a judge on the African Union Court of Human and People’s Rights) and advocate Johan de Waal lodged the report of their investigation into Mkhwebane which found that there was prima facie evidence of sustained incompetence and misconduct, based on her conduct in several cases.
The Public Protector who currently faces a criminal charge of perjury, lied under oath in court papers and her decisions have consistently covered for Ace Magashule and his allies, to the extent of being thrown out of court for glaring omissions. So while the fact that the current Resolution is in the name of the DA is unfortunate and has provided a useful red-herring, we all know the real issue is the current President’s efforts to rid South Africa of corruption and State Capture.
Parliament’s MPs will now decide, by a simple majority vote, whether to hold a formal inquiry into the Public Protector’s conduct. If they decide to remove her however, a two-thirds majority of Parliament would then be necessary for the final decision and because of the ANC majority in the House, the decision is basically in their hands. The EFF, UDM and ATM will likely shield the public protector.
The National Assembly Speaker, the ANC’s Thandi Modise, was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying “It would be a very sad day… I must say it upfront, that with the report that all of you party leaders have in our hands, we say we don’t want a committee stage, because then we would really be putting democracy in this country to shame”.
The last and possibly only time the ANC’s parliamentary caucus voted on obviously divided lines, was the August 2017 ‘secret’ vote of no confidence in the then sitting President, Jacob Zuma.
It is now in the hands of rational thinking ANC Leaders and members of Parliament who will need courage to do the right thing and courage to face whatever consequences doing the right thing, will have for them. This is a huge test of character and commitment to democracy, the Freedom Charter and the struggle in which so many lost their lives, as a vote against the resolution will weaken important institutions of our democracy and further entrench a culture of corruption and entitlement.
(My response to the Daily Maverick take on the situation)