/ 5 December 2022

Malema calls on ANC MPs to vote for Ramaphosa’s impeachment

Cic Julius Malema Addresses The Media At Winnie Madikizela Mandela House
EFF leader Julius Malema. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo)

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president Julius Malema has called on all MPs, including those of the ANC, to “vote with their conscience” and adopt the section 89 panel’s report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s conduct regarding the Phala Phala scandal.

He asked leaders of the governing party who had called for Ramaphosa to go — cabinet members Lindiwe Sisulu and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and chair of the portfolio committee on international relations and cooperation Supra Mahumapelo — to “raise their hands” and vote openly in favour of the report on Tuesday, 6 December.

The speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, had announced that the vote on the report — the start of an impeachment process against the head of state — would be conducted by open ballot.

African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader Vuyo Zungula had written to the speaker to allow the vote to be conducted by secret ballot.

Addressing an EFF media briefing in Johannesburg on Monday, Malema said the party was “happy that a secret ballot is not provided for” because this would force MPs to show the public where they really stood as individuals.

“Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma spoke on TV and said Cyril Ramaphosa must go. Lindiwe Sisulu spoke on TV and said Cyril Ramaphosa must go … Supra,” Malema said. “Tomorrow let them go and raise their hands and not be peacetime heroes.”

Malema said the EFF would insist on a physical vote, during which he believed the  impeachment would commence.

He added that in addition to the section 89 vote, the opposition was also looking at bringing a separate motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa, which he believed would be tabled by the Democratic Alliance (DA) as the largest opposition party. If it did not, the EFF would bring the motion itself.

Malema said the section 89 panel had delivered a “comprehensive and concise” report against a tight deadline, an indication that its members “understood the gravity of the task” they faced.

He condemned the attacks on the members of the panel since the report was delivered, saying that there had been a “coordinated campaign by the media to discredit the outcomes and cast aspersions on its members”.

“Society must reject this campaign by those who want to create the impression that the removal of the current president of South Africa represents a collapse.”

The EFF would also begin to put pressure on the South African Reserve Bank, the South African Revenue Service and other state agencies that have been investigating Phala Phala to declare the findings of their investigations, and would look at “legal methods” of compelling them to do so. 

It would also push for action against senior members of the ANC implicated in corruption by facilities company Bosasa at the Zondo commission on state capture — including Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokonyane — by state agencies that had failed to prosecute thus far.

Malema said Ramaphosa had “gone AWOL for four days” and had created a crisis over which the military should have told him to stand down. 

Parliament spokesperson Molotho Mothapo said on Monday that Mapisa-Nqakula has declined the ATM’s request to have the voting procedure on the section 89 panel’s report to be held by secret ballot. He said Mapisa-Nqakula believed that a secret ballot would “deprive the citizens of identifying the positions of their representatives across party lines” and might also “facilitate the possibility of corruption” aimed at influencing members to vote in a particular way without them being held accountable to the people who voted for them.

Mothapo said the decision was also influenced by the constitutional requirement that parliament conduct its proceedings in an open manner, along with “her assessment of the prevailing political atmosphere in the country at present”.

Also on Monday, the DA tabled a motion to have the speaker dissolve the National Assembly and called on Ramaphosa to proclaim an early election and set a date for 2023 in terms of section (5) (1) and 49 (2) of the Constitution.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said they had done so because Ramaphosa had been “deeply compromised” by the Phala Phala scandal, no matter what the outcome of the president’s attempt to take the report on review.

The motion will require the support of other opposition parties and some ANC MPs to get the 50%+1 to be successful.

Malema said his party was not interested in an early election.

“We must prepare thoroughly for 2024. That is where South Africans are going to get another opportunity to say if they want corruption, or if they want clean governance,” he said.