The party was “deeply concerned” that the lack of procedure was purposefully orchestrated in an attempt to circumvent due process.
THE DA in the Northern Cape has cried foul over the appointment of Fufe Makatong as a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) and subsequently MEC for Road and Public Works.
The party called out the Speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature (NCPL), Newrene Klaaste, after claiming that a “concerning lack of procedure was followed in the reinstatement of controversial ANC big-five member”, Makatong, as a MPL.
Harold McGluwa, DA Northern Cape provincial chairperson and chief whip of the provincial caucus, said in a statement issued this week that this had paved the way for Makatong’s appointment as the MEC for Roads and Public Works last week.
“The DA has officially submitted a letter of complaint to Klaaste, regarding what we consider to be gross oversight on the part of the NCPL in the swearing in of Makatong, as well as Desery Finies, following the resignation of MECs Martha Bartlett and Bernice Sinexve. This includes that the NCPL failed to officially inform political parties of the vacancies left by Bartlett and Sinexve, and also never published the swearing in of Makatong and Finies, or officially welcomed them on the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC) publication of the legislature.”
McGluwa added that the party was “deeply concerned” that the lack of procedure was purposefully orchestrated in an attempt to circumvent due process.
“This has left us with many questions.”
He pointed out that neither Makatong nor Finies appeared on the IEC provincial list. “We thus want proof that the IEC lists were in fact properly amended,” he said.
“At the same time, Makatong has a dark cloud hanging over her. She was removed from the ANC’s lists in the run up to the 2019 elections and we want to know what could possibly have changed now for the ANC to allow Makatong back onto their list.
“If Makatong, or the ANC for that matter, thought that we would forget about her unceremonious removal from government politics and her poor track record, then they must think again.”
He further accused Makatong of giving “a dismal performance as MEC for Health whereby she basically brought Health to a standstill with her refusal to sign off on critical appointments and procurements”.
“We therefore have no doubt that she does not have what it takes to lead any government department, let alone Roads and Public Works, which deals with massive construction contracts and the Povince’s property portfolio.
“It is important that we ascertain the reasons for her removal from the ANC list in 2019 and the processes followed in her subsequent reinstatement. It is also critical that we do so now, as to prevent a dangerous precedent in the future.”
In response, Klaaste said that she noted, with disappointment, the statement made by the DA, “especially after a detailed response on the procedures followed pertaining to the vacancies of the two former MECs concerned was issued to the DA office”.
“Bartlett and Sinxeve submitted their resignations to the Speaker. The ANC also submitted these resignations to my office and in so doing they also declared vacancies and nominated the next two available candidates on their party list.”
The Speaker added that the party had, through the Office of the Secretary to the Legislature, published a revised list in the Provincial Gazette in June 2020.
“The Gazette is a public document, to which the DA had access.
“Any political party can review and change the order on the list after 12 months of the publication of the designated list published by the IEC.”
Klaaste added that the Standing Rules of the Legislature did not require that resignations be published but that the legislature should publish ATCs in between sittings to keep members informed on any new developments.
“Procedurally, the DA need not be informed by the legislature of the resignation but only that vacancies were declared and who took up the vacant seats after being duly nominated as the next available candidate. The candidates appeared on the list and the party (ANC) only needs to confirm that the individual is the next available candidate on the list.
“The legislature relies on the processes prescribed by the Electoral Act and will not initiate investigations in respect of eligibility of a candidate based on assertions and will only respond to formal complaints of eligibility of members if a court of law has made such a determination.
“The party list the DA is referring to is a public document and thus the party has the right to object to Makatong’s eligibility, should they deem it necessary on their part. “
Klaaste reiterated that due procedure had been followed. “We are mindful that during this period where most engagements take place virtually, some areas may be compromised, however due procedure that the legislature is required to follow will never be compromised.”