Speaker Should Conduct Phala Phala Vote By Secret Ballot

ActionSA today calls on Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to consider the vote on the Phala Phala Section 89 panel recommendations on Tuesday to be conducted by secret ballot.

This is the first time that Parliament will be putting the rules around the Section 89 process to the test, and we believe that the gravity of this situation warrants the Speaker exercising her discretion to vote by way of secret ballot.

This comes after a cynical instruction by the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) was issued to ANC Members of Parliament to close ranks around the President and vote to protect him when the National Assembly considers the Phala Phala report.

This is not how accountability works and the Speaker is dutybound to give effect to Section 55(2) of The Constitution which demands that Parliament exercise oversight over the Executive and hold it accountable. This instruction by the ANC NWC is a brazen attempt to circumvent that constitutional imperative and protect the President in a manner reminiscent of Nkandla.

The Speaker has a duty to the people of South Africa to exercise independence, and not allow the process to be politically captured by the ANC’s undue influence. We believe this can be achieved by allowing the vote to happen by secret ballot so that there is no retribution against members of the ruling party who want the process to unfold properly without fear or favour.

If indeed President Cyril Ramaphosa has done nothing wrong, why is the ANC attempting to circumvent due process? One would think that it would be better for the President to make his case and be cleared by a process of Parliament rather than cynical ANC decrees.

It must be repeated that South Africa over the last decade has had to come to terms with political leaders who are battling criminal charges and violations of the Constitution. This seems to preoccupy these leaders when the country is desperate for effective and ethical leadership.

History must not repeat itself in this regard and President Ramaphosa must be subjected to due process so that South Africans can satisfy themselves that justice is being served in this matter.