The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape wants the provincial legislature to hold a special sitting on the future of Premier, Helen Zille, before the State-of-the Province Address in February next year.

This follows the Public Protector’s finding that Zille had violated the executive members’ code of ethics. The ANC made the formal announcement at its provincial head office in Cape Town, after saying earlier it wanted the special sitting to take place within 30 days of the Speaker receiving the report.

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, found that Zille had facilitated her son’s company’s utilisation of its software and educational resources through the use of the provincial government’s tablets in revision workshops for learners.

The Public Protector found that it was a conflict of interest on Zille’s part. Zille says she has fulfilled the requirements of the law and has indicted that she will take Makhwebane’s findings on review through the High Court in Cape Town.

The ANC says Zille must be held accountable and has urged the speaker to urgently convene a special sitting. The party’s acting provincial chairperson, Khaya Magaxa:

“Zille is not above the Constitution and must be held accountable. We insist that she faces the music in the Legislature. Speaker, Sharna Fernandez must act as instructed by the Public Protector and take steps within 30 days after having received the report to hold Zille accountable. It must happen before the State of the Province Address held in February.”

Zille says she’d welcome a special sitting to debate the findings.

“The ANC knows that it has no case at all and I am quite happy to defend everything that I did because it was the right thing to do and I will do it again. My son, who was a teacher at Khayelitsha at the time, used Education Department property as he did every day to help people during the holidays.”

The Progressive Professionals’ Forum says they it support the Public Protector as a friend of the court when Zille takes the report’s findings on review. The PPF’s Provincial Deputy Secretary, Muaath Gabier says:

“I think that the Premier is being very convenient with the truth and facts and we hope that she takes this matter to court. As the PPF, we will support the public protector as a friend of the court to go there and to make sure that the full evidence trail is brought in for public scrutiny.”

It is not clear when Zille intends to approach the High Court in Cape Town to take on review the Public Protector’s findings.