National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is still applying her mind on whether an investigation will be undertaken against President Cyril Ramaphosa. This follows a request by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) for an ad hoc committee or inquiry to probe the president.
Ramaphosa is under pressure to come clean on the alleged concealed theft of millions of dollars at his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo in 2020. A criminal complaint has been registered with the police against Ramaphosa in relation to alleged contraventions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
The opposition parties are piling on the pressure as they want the president to come clean and account to parliament.
The ATM had already lodged an inquiry request with the Speaker but it was declined as it lacked a substantive motion. The party resubmitted the inquiry motion two weeks ago and is awaiting the reply.
The DA has also called for an ad hoc committee to probe the president, saying new revelations including the alleged involvement of Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa is a matter warranting a parliamentary investigation.
“Allegations that a secret fund, intelligence fund was used to pay off the record operation to track and recover the stolen money and apprehend the suspects, as well as the deployment of an elite task force to the president’s farm at a cost of R2 million a month, have broadened the scope of this scandal considerably,” says John Steenhuisen, DA leader.
Other opposition parties also support the probe.
“The ACDP supports the recommendation that a specific portfolio committee should be established for oversight over the president and the presidency. This in our view will go a long way in improving parliamentary oversight,” says ACDP MP Steve Swart.
“He should also be prepared to appear before a parliamentary committee and if he does not do that, it means he is putting the interests of the ANC above the interest of South Africa. Why can he not give the answers to a parliamentary committee, but to that of the integrity committee of the ANC,” says FF Plus leader, Pieter Groenewald.
On Monday, Newly-elected Gauteng African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson, Panyaza Lesufi, described the Phala Phala farm saga associated with President Ramaphosa as a major setback for the ruling party.
Lesufi said this could reverse the progress made in the fight against corruption.
“It’s a major setback. I think even our president knows that we were on the right course to fight corruption. We were on the right course to project our president as a person whos’ taking this country forward. We were on the right course to say our president has demonstrated that he is willing to work on behalf of this country. So, the Phala Phala farming is a major setback. It took us almost 19 steps backward, but I remain hopeful that the president will attend to it. But I’m glad the president subjected himself to processes of law enforcement agencies.”
Lesufi, however, added that no one had the right to pre-determine whether or not President Ramaphosa should step aside as per ANC policy.
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