‘Public needs to identify representatives’ positions’: Mapisa-Nqakula rejects secret ballot in Mkhwebane vote
National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has rejected requests for a secret ballot in the vote for the section 194 inquiry committee report which recommended the removal of suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
The committee investigated Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office and finalised its report last month, recommending parliament remove her as head of the public protector's office.
MPs are set to vote on the report next Monday. The African Transformation Movement and the UDM requested a secret ballot.
Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the speaker turned down the requests because a closed voting procedure would “deprive” citizens from identifying their representatives’ positions.
“The speaker has also considered the argument that party discipline might influence members’ vote, but highlights that it is an inherent aspect of party politics and the current electoral system.
“Furthermore, the speaker has considered the prevailing atmosphere in the assembly and South Africa, finding it is not toxic or highly charged to warrant a secret ballot. The speaker believes a closed voting procedure would deprive citizens, who have a significant public interest in the matter, from identifying their representatives' positions and holding them accountable,” said Mothapo.
He said there were no security concerns that would “necessitate” a secret ballot.
“The speaker has found no reason to believe any member will be bribed or exposed to corrupt activities in relation to the vote.”
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, in his letter requesting a secret ballot, said though the cause of death of former ANC MP Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who was part of the inquiry, remains unknown it was “widely believed” to be linked to the inquiry. Holomisa raised concerns about a “toxified atmosphere” in parliament.
Joemat-Pettersson died in June. The Investigating Directorate (ID) is investigating her death.
The vote is set to take place a few weeks before Mkhwebane's term comes to an end in October.
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