ANC opposed to ad hoc committee probe into Phala Phala saga

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  • A mini-plenary of the National Assembly debated whether an ad hoc committee on Phala Phala should be established, with most opposition parties arguing in favour of such oversight.
  • The ANC nixed the idea, saying that law enforcement agencies should do their work.
  • The National Assembly will vote on the establishment of the committee on Wednesday.

While most opposition parties have backed the DA's call for an ad hoc committee to probe allegations relating to President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm, the ANC sees no need for one.

DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube's motion for the establishment of such a committee was debated during a mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday morning after the ANC prevented it from being heard last week.

"It cannot be, under a constitutional democracy, that we have a sitting president accused of breaking the law with the aid of state institutions, left without answering the key questions we should be asking," Gwarube said while introducing the motion.

She said the House had a choice: to either turn a blind eye because of party allegiance, or do to do what is right.

"All that is asked of you today is to allow Parliament to do its work of determining the facts and investigate the serious allegations before us," Gwarube said.

READ | Zizi Kodwa cleared on Phala Phala allegations by Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence

ANC MP Mina Lesoma said the DA and its "coalition partners" would like the National Assembly to take over the work of law enforcement agencies.

"None of us know the legal entity that resulted in the theft. In the event it attracts liability, it should be addressed as any other matter."

She accused the DA of being fixated on drama and sensation.

The EFF, however, backed the DA's motion.

"We are going to deal with Rama-dollars. We need an ad-hoc committee," EFF MP Omphile Maotwe said.

The IFP, ACDP, FF Plus and ATM also supported the motion, but GOOD MP Brett Herron sided with the ANC, arguing that the matter should only come before Parliament once law enforcement agencies did their work.

The ANC argued that the Section 89 committee - which could be established if the National Assembly adopts such a motion after an independent panel makes recommendations on whether Ramaphosa has a prima facie case to answer to - will cover the Phala Phala matter.

However, the DA and other opposition parties contend that the Section 89 committee will only deal with Ramaphosa's impeachment and that an ad hoc committee will have a much wider scope and also look into other state entities' roles in the events.

A full sitting of the National Assembly will vote on the motion on Wednesday.

READ | ANC blocks debate on Parliament's role in holding Ramaphosa to account - for now

Ramaphosa's Limpopo game farm became part of the national debate on 1 June when Arthur Fraser, former director-general of the State Security Agency and former correctional services commissioner, opened a kidnapping and money laundering case against him for allegedly concealing a break-in at the farm.

Fraser also laid similar charges against Presidential Protection Unit head Major General Wally Rhoode and Crime Intelligence members.

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