Ngcobo says section 89 panel conducted its work fairly without prejudice

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South Africa's former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo hands over the report to the Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, on whether or not President Cyril Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry over the Phala Phala saga in Cape Town on November 30 2022. Photo: Reuters/Esa Alexander
South Africa's former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo hands over the report to the Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, on whether or not President Cyril Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry over the Phala Phala saga in Cape Town on November 30 2022. Photo: Reuters/Esa Alexander

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Retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo says the section 89 independent panel had conducted its work, he hoped, without fear or prejudice.

Ngcobo led the panel that investigated whether there were grounds to impeach President Cyril Ramaphosa following revelations of the theft of dollars that were kept at his Phala Phala farm. Ramaphosa has since admitted that the money was from a sale of Ankola cattle.  

Ngcobo handed over the three-volume report to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, on Wednesday. Mapisa-Nqakula instituted the panel following a motion of no confidence on Ramaphosa over the issue by the African Transformation Movement.

READ: Ramaphosa denies abusing his power by reporting Phala Phala theft to his security detail

Speaking at the handing over of the report in Parliament on Wednesday, Ngcobo thanked everyone who had played a role in ensuring that the panel conducted its work, including political parties represented in Parliament.

He said: 

There has been a lot of anxiety, understandably so, from the people of South Africa. I would like to thank them for their patience and for allowing us the necessary space to do our work with no interruption.

The panel was supposed to have concluded its work on November 17, but it asked for an extension to Wednesday. Ngcobo explained that it was when the panel was dealing with the volumes of information before it that it realised that it would not meet the November 17 deadline.

He said it was information received from political parties that made it difficult for the panel to conclude its work as anticipated.

“We decided to invite members of Parliament to submit additional information or whatever information they wanted to place before us. And as I have pointed out, the ATM, EFF, and UDM gave us that information, and we are not talking about two or three pages, we are talking about pages and pages and recordings. We had asked them to transcribe audio recordings, but they did not do that. But we will not penalise them for that, we understand. But they were given extremely short notice in which to respond and they responded on time,” said Ngcobo.

He said once that information was received, the panel, without looking at it, passed it on to Ramaphosa.

Ngcobo added: 

After that, we had to take that information, submit it to the president and ask him to respond to everything that we had. Without looking at anything, we said, ‘This is what they have given us, please respond’. Again, we had to wait. You cannot begin to analyse everything because you have to wait for all the information to be there so that you can contextualise your understanding of the information. You do not read one sentence and make a finding, that is not how it works.

He said the report comprises three volumes, with the first volume being the report itself, while volumes two and three were the record of every document the panel relied on to prepare the report.

Ngcobo said at the end of the report: “It was done, I hope, without fear or prejudice.”

It is up to MPs to decide

Mapisa-Nqakula said the report would be made available on Wednesday night to members of Parliament when would be published on Parliament’s website, and that it would be considered in the National Assembly next week Tuesday. 

READ: Opposition parties don’t budge on Ramaphosa’s refusal to answer Phala Phala questions

“The house will consider the report, its findings, and recommendations and adopt a resolution through a simple majority vote whether further action by the house is necessary or not,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

Remember, it is not my report. I will not study the report, I will take the report and work with the team to ensure that the report appears in the ATC tonight.

Secretary of Parliament Xolile George said the institution had made a provision of R5.3 million for the work of the panel, and now that it has concluded its work, it would go back and see how much was spent.


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