The DA in the Gauteng legislature has questioned the results of a motion of no confidence vote against premier David Makhura, held on Tuesday, claiming that speaker Ntombi Mekgwe may have conducted herself irregularly.
In a statement, DA chief whip in the province Mike Moriarty said that he had written to speaker Mekgwe to ask for a recount of votes. This is after Makhura won against the motion of no confidence set by the DA.
The DA tabled the motion in the Gauteng provincial legislature, claiming that Makhura was implicated in the issuing of the R2.2 billion personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders irregularly.
DA caucus leader Solly Msimanga said the Johannesburg High Court had found that Makhura’s office had directed officials in the provincial health department to give PPE tenders to certain companies and individuals known to them.
The ANC defeated its motion by 37 votes, while the DA and EFF managed 33 votes, but it’s arguing that the actual results were 35 to 34, with the ANC winning by just one vote.
The DA had initially asked for a vote via a secret ballot against Makhura, who is also facing internal fights in his party.
“The DA has written to the speaker in the Gauteng provincial legislature for the rules committee to review the original vote of the motion of no confidence in Premier Makhura from earlier this week and institute a recount.
“The DA has raised concern regarding the total number of votes that were recorded, and how the voting process in a hybrid plenary structure takes place,” said Moriarty on Tuesday.
He questioned the total number of votes which defeated the motion of no confidence, saying they suggested Mekgwe may also have voted.
“While the total number of seats in the [legislature] is 73 [which includes the speaker], one MPL had abstained, and two other members did not respond during the roll call. Despite this, the speaker recorded a total of 70 votes.
“This meant that the speaker included a vote for herself, which is a contravention of the rules, as the speaker only has a vote in the event of a tie. While the speaker announced a result of 33 votes for the motion and 37 against, this was not a correct reflection of the tally,” said Moriarty.
He said one member of another opposition party who, according to the records, voted for the motion, was recorded as voting no.
“It has been alleged that this specific member had changed their mind to vote against the motion. The DA has asked the speaker to ensure the rules committee also reviews this and ascertain if the member really did change their mind or whether there was coercion at play.
“The DA believes, after removing the speaker’s vote and including the member of the other opposition party who voted in support of the motion, the final tally should be 34 votes for the motion, and 35 votes against,” said Moriarty.
He said they wanted the rules and integrity of the rules to be protected, even though the recount shows that the motion would remain defeated.
During the vote, the African Christian Democratic Party opted to abstain from the ballot while another member of the legislature, who was present, also did not vote and a third was unable to connect to the House during proceedings.
On Wednesday, EFF Gauteng deputy chairperson Itani Mukwevho said, “We are very much disappointed with the ANC caucus, which voted that their corrupt Premier Makhura stay.”
Opposition parties also say the ANC had chosen to protect its own instead of prioritising the province’s citizens.