By Neo Goba And Bafana Nzimande
Opposition parties have criticised the ANC for removing outspoken MP Makhosi Khoza as chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration.
Khoza‚ who has clashed with party leadership and criticised President Jacob Zuma‚ faced an open revolt in Parliament on Wednesday from party members.
And on Thursday‚ the party fired her from her role as committee chairperson‚ citing as the reason a breakdown of trust between her and the party. She will‚ however‚ remain a member of Parliament.
ANC national communications manager Khusela Sangoni said Khoza’s removal was based on reports of “an acrimonious relationship that has developed between her and members of that committee and this is both before and in the period leading up to the motion of no confidence” in Zuma.
Regina Lesoma‚ the ANC whip in the public service portfolio committee who is one of the five MPs who wrote to ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu to express their loss of confidence in Khoza‚ will act as the interim committee chairperson until a full time replacement is identified.
Khoza‚ along with MPs Mathole Motshekga‚ Pravin Gordhan‚ Mondli Gungubele and Derek Hanekom‚ were among those who had previously said they would vote according to their conscience in last week’s vote of no confidence against the president.
Zuma survived the vote but around 30 ANC MPs are believed to have voted for his removal as president.
“The SG (Gwede Mantashe) together with the officials were exercising their powers and then took a decision that she must no longer be the Chairperson of that committee [but] she will continue being part of the ANC caucus as an MP. “This was communicated to the Chief Whip (Jackson Mthembu) in Parliament this morning‚” said Sangoni.
On Tuesday‚ Khoza chaired her last meeting as the chairperson of the committee‚ which saw five ANC MPs as well as Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi failing to appear before the portfolio committee.
Muthambi was to have been quizzed on allegations that she flew 30 family members and friends to Parliament for her budget vote address at taxpayers’ expense.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal ‚who deployed Khoza to Parliament‚ said the decision taken by the party’s national structure endorsed what the province had been saying about Khoza.
“In essence this means that as the ANC in KZN‚ we are vindicated because we said this (Khoza) was a problem which was developing to become something bigger than what it is. We are glad that the national structure has finally realised this‚” said provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli.
In July‚ the province slapped Khoza with two counts of ill-discipline for statements she made in four Facebook posts on July 7‚ 20 (two posts) and 21‚ as well as remarks she made on July 18 at the Conference for the Future of South Africa in Johannesburg‚ which was organised by Save SA.
Asked if they would still continue with disciplining her on September 10 in Durban‚ Ntuli said they would leave no stone unturned.
“The process that we have taken to discipline her is something we still want to follow. Whatever conclusion that emerges out of that disciplinary hearing‚ we will then decide on whether or not to recall her but all we want is for her to account for her conduct‚” Ntuli told TimesLIVE.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said Khoza’s removal from her position is a sign of the ANC imploding.
Holomisa said he was not surprised by the ANC’s decision on Khoza because the party had long shown intentions to act against those willing to fight the rot from within.
“The ANC talked about disciplining Khoza before the vote of no confidence which goes to show that her case was not fairly handled. If the party was serious about disciplining her they should have referred her matter to an independent inquiry. They have removed her because she is one of those who are prepared to speak truth to the party‚” said Holomisa.
“They can remove her but they are forgetting that her stance was supported by more than 20 ANC MP’s who voted against Zuma in the recent motion‚” Holomisa added.
The DA’s chief whip in Parliament‚ John Steenhuisen‚ said Khoza’s removal was fuelled by the ANC’s continued infighting and that the decision would have a huge impact in the running of Parliament.
“Khoza’s removal shows that the ANC will do anything in its power to remove those that hold the executive accountable. Khoza did her job exceptionally well.
“It’s a shame that the ANC continues to protect incompetent MPs like Faith Muthambi‚ Bathabile Dlamini‚ Mduduzi Manana and Mosebenzi Zwane‚” said Steenhuisen.
EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted: “The coward Gwede Mantashe removed Makhosi Khoza as the Chair of the Portfolio Committeee. The pig eating its own children‚ finish and klaar.”
Khoza did not answer calls from TimesLIVE.
Khoza’s daughter‚ Zama Khoza posted on Facebook shortly after her mother was removed: “So if you hit women the ANC doesn’t remove you‚ but if you speak out about corruption you get removed. The ANC needs serious therapy.”