MPs should have the courage to vote for accountability

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP – Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
13 Dec 2022 in News

The following speech was delivered by the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition, Siviwe Gwarube MP, in Parliament today during the debate on the Section 89 Phala Phala report.


Much has been said about this vote today;

Much will be said here about why this process – despite the fact that it was commissioned by this very House and its members – should be ignored;

However, not much will be said about what this vote is not about.

This vote is not about impeaching the President;

This vote is not about the highly contested ANC presidential race;

This vote is not about where the political lines are drawn; and whose politically loyal to who;

This vote is about accountability.

This vote is about the Constitution we all swore to uphold and the commitment we made to South Africans to be lawmakers who respect the rules of this House and by extension, the people who sent us here.

It is a vote to complete a process we collectively embarked on; showcasing that it does not matter whether you are a president or an ordinary citizen, the laws of this country apply to us all impartially.

It is a vote to afford the President an opportunity to have the truth uncovered.

An opportunity an innocent person should grab with both hands.

To deliberately make this vote about the President and not about the principle of fairness and the rule of law is dishonest.

It is undoubtable that crimes were committed on the President’s Phala Phala farm and state resources were abused.

it is also evident that this did not begin and end with the President, an entire network of government players and ministers are possibly implicated.

To vote against the recommendations of the panel; is to send a strong message to the people of South Africa that you only have to politically connected to be insulated from accountability.

This is not the first time a choice like this has been faced by this House.

Many of you here voted to disregard the Nkandla ad hoc report that detailed the abuse of state resources by the former President, Jacob Zuma.

You did so shamelessly.

You did so with no regard for the massive responsibility that you have been entrusted with.

Not only by ANC voters, but by all South Africans.

Today you will make the same choice.

You will choose party over people.

You will choose a cover up over accountability.

You will once again go down in history as the governing party that broke Parliament.

This is a big moment that will be recorded in history so that years from now, people will read about the disdain with which you have treated this House.

Those who will vote for what is right and not what is politically expedient today, will be voting to restore the credibility of this House which has been destroyed by the ANC over the years.

I hope you have the courage of your convictions today.

And one day, when your children ask you what you did in big moments of our democracy, may you be courageous enough then to admit that you stood firmly on the wrong side of history.