The Democratic Alliance (DA) has secured an opportunity to bring the allegations faced by President Cyril Ramaphosa and various state institutions for a theft that took place on his Phala Phala farm, to the floor of Parliament.
Tomorrow, the DA will be leading a debate on the role of Parliament in holding the President and various state institutions to account for the alleged theft and abuse of state resources on the President’s residence.
Several months ago, DA Leader John Steenhuisen, wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, requesting that she establishes an ad hoc committee that would investigate all of these allegations and ensure that we exercise our oversight role as the legislature.
She declined this request on spurious grounds and referred parts of the complaint to the Joint Standing Committee of Intelligence (JSCI). The JSCI has recently rejected the investigation on grounds that they do not have enough evidence to consider the matter. This, once again proves that there is an urgent need for the establishment of the ad hoc committee that would have the powers of investigation while doing its work fully transparently.
It is important to note that this work would be different from that of the section 89 inquiry panel. That panel – as per the National Assembly rules – will look at the allegations levelled at the President, exclusively. It would then make a determination on whether there are grounds for impeachment proceedings against him. There are currently no processes in Parliament that will look at the complicity of ministers, officials and other state institutions which may have been central to this crime.
Tomorrow’s parliamentary debate will allow the matter to be posed and discussed in Parliament and subjected to a vote next week. This means that all members of Parliament will be able to vote on whether or not state institutions and cabinet ministers who were allegedly used in the cover up of the Phala Phala theft should be investigated.
Ahead of next week’s vote on the matter; the DA will lobby all political parties represented in Parliament to support our call for this ad hoc committee.
Beyond party interests, this is about accountability and reinforcing the role of Parliament in matters of national importance. The institution has been lambasted for failing to carry out its constitutional obligations of holding the executive to account over the the years.
Now is an opportunity to rectify that by putting narrow political interests aside and supporting the call for accountability.