Verdict on parliament probe into Ramaphosa's 'farmgate' due next week
National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is considering the UDM and African Transformation Movement’s requests for a parliamentary investigation into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s alleged cover-up of a 2020 robbery at his farm.
Mapisa-Nqakula told the assembly’s programming committee on Thursday she will report back her decision at the next meeting of the committee next Thursday. But it was pointed out to her that next Thursday is a public holiday.
It is also the first day of parliament’s two-month winter recess.
Mapisa-Nqakula assured the committee she will look into the matter.
The discussion in the programming committee came hours before Ramaphosa was set to table the presidency’s 2022/23 budget vote in the assembly.
Mapisa-Nqakula said she was considering the substantive issues raised in the letters written by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and ATM president Vuyo Zungula in the wake of Ramaphosa’s “farmgate” scandal.
They both requested that parliament institute an investigation against the president.
Zungula also asked that a date be set before the end of this parliamentary term for Ramaphosa to answer MPs’ oral questions. Mapisa-Nqakula declined this request as the programming committee decided last week that Ramaphosa would appear twice in the next term to answer oral questions.
Mapisa-Nqakula said she will communicate her decision on whether there would be an investigation next week. She added a programming committee meeting may even be held on Wednesday evening if her team agrees.
Oral questions to the president are set for August 30 and September 29.
Zungula was not convinced.
“We are having a serious issue in our country whereby a president has got allegations against him, therefore it cannot be business as usual and parliament can’t be seen as if it is nonchalant on the issues that are raised around the head of state,” he said.
Before this term ends, the president has to take the nation into his confidence, in parliament, about whatever he is accused of, said Zungula.
“It cannot be speaker that we are going to allow this to go on as if it is not a serious issue. Before the programme for this particular term ends, the president must be summoned to account and take the nation into his confidence,” said Zungula.
He was backed by UDM chief whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa who said at the time the programming committee decided to defer the next question session to the next term the context was different, as there were no allegations against the president.
In Ramaphosa’s defence, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina there was no basis to summon the president.
“Zungula is saying there are allegations, and now he wants us to summon the president on the allegations, that we are not going to do. That is not within the rules anywhere; on allegations, the case that is not with us, on a case that is open in a police station. On what basis should we summon the president?” she said.
Former correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser last week announced he had laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa, which emanate from the theft of millions of US dollars concealed on the premises of the president's Phala Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo, by criminals who were allegedly colluding with his domestic worker.
In response, the presidency said last week there was no basis for the claims of criminal conduct made against Ramaphosa in Fraser’s statement.
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