Mapisa-Nqakula refers ATM motion for Phala Phala probe to an independent panel

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  • Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula referred the ATM's call for an inquiry into the Phala Phala saga to an independent panel. 
  • The panel will decide whether Ramaphosa has a case to answer regarding the allegations.
  • The Speaker will appoint the panel as soon as political parties put forward nominees.

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula referred the African Transformation Movement's (ATM) call for Parliament to set up an inquiry into the Phala Phala saga to an independent panel. 

This panel will decide whether President Cyril Ramaphosa will be subject to a process that may lead to his removal from office. 

In her response to the ATM, who had filed the initial request for a Section 89 inquiry to be set up, and subsequently had to file another application, Mapisa-Nqakula said the second request had been successful.

Parliament's spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said: "The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, considers the motion submitted in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution and Rule 129A-Q of the National Assembly Rules, as introduced by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) member Mr Vuyo Zungula, to be compliant in accordance with the rules."

READ | Phala Phala cleaner spins story of denial in burglary scandal

Section 89 of the Constitution provides for the National Assembly to remove a president of the Republic from office on the grounds of either, serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct or an inability to perform the functions of office. 

In line with that, the National Assembly approved Rule 129A-Q, which governs the process of the removal of the president. 

In her own response to the ATM, seen by News24, Mapisa-Nqakula said: "Now that the motion complied with the Rule, the other steps, as per the rules, will follow, including the appointment of the independent panel." 

The panel will decide whether Ramaphosa has a case to answer on the allegations of money laundering, among others, related to a robbery at his Phala Phala farm. 

Mothapo said the Speaker had initially declined the motion because it was not compliant with the applicable Rules of the National Assembly - but, following engagements with Zungula, an amended version of the motion was subsequently submitted on 18 July 2022. 

READ | Phala Phala saga: Speaker needs more time to consider push for inquiry against Ramaphosa

He added that, in terms of the Rules, the Speaker must appoint the panel after giving political parties represented in the Assembly a reasonable opportunity to put forward nominees, and after she has given due consideration to all persons nominated. 

"The function of the independent panel is to conduct a preliminary assessment of the proposed motion and, in so doing, must, in terms of Rule 129G, make a recommendation to the Speaker within 30 days, whether sufficient evidence exists to show the president committed any of the violations specified in the motion," said Mothapo. 

He said the panel referral, therefore, did not constitute a parliamentary impeachment process, but an assessment of the supplied evidence by legal and constitutional experts to determine if, in terms of the Constitution, it is adequate to warrant a further process.

Speaking to News24, Zungula said: "What we want, as the ATM, now is that this committee must sit without delay because it's been two months already since we made the application, so we expect the appointment of the independent panel to be done as soon as possible, and the panel must not be given too much time to submit their report."

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