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SECTION 194 INQUIRY ANALYSIS

No blurred lines — EFF rejects ‘majoritarianism’ as Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s Section 194 inquiry trundles on

No blurred lines — EFF rejects ‘majoritarianism’ as Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s Section 194 inquiry trundles on
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Maverick / Leila Dougan)

During the short interruption of the Section 194 Inquiry into Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office, lines and daggers were redrawn as the final countdown approached.

On Monday, Section 194 committee chair Qubudile Dyantyi announced he was staying put — as advised by independent legal counsel — and would not be recusing himself as requested by advocate Dali Mpofu, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s dogged counsel.

Advocate Ismail Jamie, appointed by Parliament to provide an independent opinion, advised there were no grounds for Dyantyi’s recusal. The opinion was supported by a majority of committee members.

But not the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who, through MP Omphile Maotwe, attempted to school political parties on the dangers of “majoritarianism”.

“The majority vote does not mean that the majority is correct, legally. Numbers do not have brains in law. So, it does not matter whether ANC or DA, jointly, with their friends FF+ agree on this. If it is legally incorrect, it’s incorrect,” she said after Dyantyi closed a chapter on yet another pothole dodged on the road to Mkhwebane’s possible impeachment.

Throughout the inquiry, which kicked off in April 2022, Mpofu, a former national chair of the EFF, has blamed the DA for the predicament in which his client finds herself. Her own failures and breaches in the courts, in full view of the citizenry, bear nary a mention.

Accountability vs ‘witch hunt’

For Mkhwebane’s acolytes and the suspended Public Protector herself, it is a “political witch hunt” and not, as many others view it, an exercise in constitutional accountability.

Bantu Holomisa, leader of the UDM, with former EFF Secretary-General Godrich Gardee, now practising privately as an attorney, have in the meantime lodged “complaints” about evidence leader advocate Nazreen Bawa. They are asking for her recusal.

Bawa is expected to address committee members on the issue this week, which is bound to stall proceedings, but also offer interesting insights into the political shadow play going on behind the scrimmage.

DA MP Kevin Mileham has also been a target of the EFF and Mpofu, who have suggested that he recuse himself. This week he refused to do so.

In July, a legal opinion supplied to the committee advised that Mileham was not precluded from being part of the committee on the grounds of his marriage to DA MP Natasha Mazzone.

Opinion, opshminion, quipped Mpofu. But Mileham, like Dyantyi, is remaining put.

“RET” ANC sect members such as former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo are also of the view that the DA is the chief protagonist in the mountain of troubles faced by Mkhwebane since the start of her controversial term.

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“We need to put it on record that the Democratic Alliance[’s] political antics of wanting to divide the African National Congress is not going to work,” Mahumaphelo said outside the Western Cape High Court.

Perhaps Mahumapelo believes the ANC is capable of doing this all by itself?

Stark political lines were drawn at the very outset and have continued throughout the six turbulent months the historic Section 194 Enquiry has sat.

Mkhwebane has grasped at every legal straw, shuffling papers all the way to the Constitutional Court in various challenges. She has suffered legal losses at every turn, including an attempt to return to work and have her suspension lifted.

On one flank is a ragtag detachment supporting the suspended Public Protector — the African Transformation Movement, the Economic Freedom Fighters and the United Democratic Movement.

Facing off against this chorus of objections, interjections and the odd good old personal insult, are the African National Congress, the Democratic Alliance, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Freedom Front Plus, the African Christian Democratic Party, Good and Al Jama-ah.

Majority rules

In 2012, then president Jacob Zuma — now an ex-convict and Accused #1 in the arms deal trial — told Parliament that “the majority rules in a democracy. You have more rights because you’re a majority; you have less rights because you’re a minority. That’s how democracy works,” Zuma explained.

It was former DA leader Lindiwe Mazibuko who had asked Zuma a question about majority unions at Marikana. Zuma responded: “Workers who do not join the union can’t have the same kind of privileges… You can’t have a union of half-a-dozen people [and say] because they’ve declared it a union, you must have the same rights.

“In a democratic situation, it is the majority that prevail. I can’t change the rules because you want to make a particular point.”

The rule of law, we have seen in South Africa, reigns in majoritarian thinking and it appears in this instance, when it suits. The populist EFF would agree. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johan says:

    When collapsing the system is your only defence. And strategy. And skill.

  • virginia crawford says:

    MP Omphile Maotwe, EFF:”The majority vote does not mean that the majority is correct, legally. Numbers do not have brains in law.” And for once they get it right! Ha ha ha.

  • John Counihan says:

    Evil forces underlying it all! I wonder what drives the cunning, confused mind of Dali Mpofu? Does he just crave the challenge of defending bad people? Or is he just fundamentally bad himself? Are his family proud of him?

  • Hilary Morris says:

    This hearing should have been based only on the facts and finished within a matter of weeks. The PP is both incompetent and ignorant, not to mention politically compromised. One has only to look at her support base for confirmation. How many, if any cases has she won through diligence and honest work?

  • John Counihan says:

    Horrifying to see Zuma commenting on anything. If the law had any teeth and our country any competence to act against criminals, this treasonous thief who has facilitated State Capture and the destruction of our beloved country would be behind bars forever. Disgusting human being!

  • Chris 123 says:

    EFF, always trying to curry favor with the RET brigade.

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