The African National Congress (ANC) is seemingly divided on the forthcoming vote by Members of Parliament on establishing the inquiry into Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

In reminiscent of the 2017 vote of no confidence in former President Jacob Zuma, ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule has reportedly called on his party’s MPs to block the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s motion in the National Assembly to establish an impeachment inquiry into Mkhwebane.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fate hangs in the balance:

In the 2017 motion brought by the DA against Zuma, then Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said it would be uncharacteristic of ANC for its MPs to vote with the opposition. However, some ANC MPs are divided on Mkhwebane.

“It can’t be correct ukuthi (that) opposition forces ibize (to bring forth the motion) impeachment kube i-expectation that ANC MPs will vote for that impeachment. It’s unheard of. It should not happen comrades. The ANC must process its things and take its own decision. Nobody takes advice of his own enemy; don’t do that. An advice from the enemy … it is poisonous. It’s not done,” Mantashe said.

Panel finds prima facie evidence against Public Protector:

Magashule was quoted as saying principled ANC MPs would not vote in support of the motion brought by the official opposition party. He said there is no way the ANC can support the enemy of the revolution, the DA.

“And immediately after that, another ANC NEC member Fikile Mbalula tweeted saying Mkhwebane is a “hired gun (and) not the Public Protector.”

ANC NEC member Fikile Mblalula asked which NEC had resolved to defend Mkhwebane, something that Political Analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga agrees should be the party line.

“The recent development regarding the motion to remove the PP from office, I think it is going to be a big test for members of the caucus in parliament. This is because it is very confusing for members of the ANC caucus in parliament to know exactly how they should vote in relation to the removal of Mkhwebane. The Secretary General of the ANC has urged party members to push the principle and toe the party line, but the problem here is that it’s not even clear what the party line is at this point in time and on what basis is that party line actually arrived at when it comes to how MPs should vote on the removal of Mkhwebane.”

Support for Mkhwebane

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) have joined the ANC MPs who are against the DA motion to remove Mkkhwebane.

The EFF’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu said Mkhwebane must be allowed to finish her term as public protector, despite the findings of the review panel.

The ATM on the other hand cited her office’s clean audit, which was a first for the public protector’s office in 25 years as well as her office turning around 95% of their caseload within a set turnaround time.