Parliament can't appoint commission into Zondo Commission, Speaker tells Holomisa

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Bantu Holomisa.
Bantu Holomisa.
  • Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula advised MPs who take issue with the Zondo Commission's report to go to court.
  • This is after UDM leader Bantu Holomisa wanted Parliament to appoint a retired judge to investigate whether there has been an attempt to sabotage the commission by omitting some evidence.
  • Parliament does not have the authority to appoint a commission of inquiry, Mapisa-Nqakula pointed out.

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula advised UDM leader Bantu Holomisa to challenge in the courts what he alleges is missing evidence from the Zondo Commission.

This is after Holomisa wrote to Mapisa-Nqakula. 

Despite Parliament not being legally empowered to do so, Holomisa wanted to appoint a retired judge to "look into all the matters which the Zondo Commission did not attend to and to check whether there had been a deliberate effort to sabotage the Zondo Commission with the exclusion of certain documentation/evidence from the commission".

Holomisa based his assertion on a report in Independent Media's Sunday Independent, published on 3 January and on a submission he provided to the commission, which it "did not seem to consider in the end".

Holomisa further claimed that Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, his evidence leaders and President Cyril Ramaphosa were "conflicted", therefore "new faces" would have to deal with it.

According to a statement from Parliament, Mapisa-Nqakula responded to Holomisa, clarifying that she had no authority to appoint a commission of inquiry, as that was the responsibility of the president as provided for in the Constitution.

"Furthermore, the Speaker does not have the authority to appoint a retired judge to interrogate the report of the state capture commission," reads the statement.

Section 84(1)(f) of the Constitution grants the president the power to appoint commissions of inquiry. A commission is established to inquire and establish facts, and ultimately to render advice to those who established it.

READ | Parliament adopts plan to implement Zondo Commission's findings

"The Speaker further referred Mr Holomisa to discussions in the National Assembly rules committee on how Parliament will process the state capture report. The process agreed upon in the rules committee does not include challenging the correctness or otherwise of the commission's report."

Mapisa-Nqakula said the findings and recommendations of commissions should be challenged in court through a judicial process.

The commission made damning findings against Parliament for its oversight failures during the state capture era.

"The Speaker concluded by encouraging all MPs and parliamentary structures to remain vigilant in carrying out the constitutional oversight obligation of Parliament. She expressed hope that such institutional processes would also help address the concerns expressed by Mr Holomisa," reads the statement.

The commission was established in terms of the remedial action of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's final report, "State of Capture".

However, when former president Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in the dying days of his presidency in early 2018,  he gave it a wider scope than envisaged by Madonsela, leading to a much broader investigation.

This move was viewed as an attempt to diffuse the focus of the commission's work.

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