I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, requesting that she allow me to submit an urgent question for next week’s Questions to the President session in Parliament asking President Ramaphosa to clarify his recent statement under oath that the Zondo recommendations are “not binding”.
I submitted the following urgent question in terms of rule 141 (1)(b) of the Rules of the National Assembly.
Having spent over a billion rand of public money on the Zondo Commission on State Capture, President Ramaphosa stated under oath in his answering affidavit to the DA last week that the recommendations of the Zondo Commission are “not binding”. This severely undermines the entire four-year process and implies the public has spent over a billion rand on mere advice that he can disregard if he so chooses. This is deeply concerning given that his own party was the prime offender. If he does not consider the findings of the Commission to be binding, what assurance can he give South Africa that he will consider its recommendations and make determinations without fear or favour?
This question is urgent because the public needs to hear directly from President Ramaphosa that he will treat the recommendations of the Zondo Commission with the seriousness they deserve, having spent over a billion rand of the public’s money on the commission. The President owes it to the people of South Africa, who have suffered greatly and lost much due to the evils of state capture, to address them openly and honestly on this issue, and to do so with the utmost urgency. The report is already before Parliament and the President is expected to submit to Parliament his plan to implement its recommendations in October. This question therefore cannot wait until the next oral question session on 29 September.
People will not have confidence in the process, or confidence in South Africa’s ability to end state capture, until the President gives his assurances on this matter. Investors, decision-makers, corrupt politicians, and ordinary South Africans need to know that the entire process of ending state capture is still on track and has not been fatally derailed. The economy is already on its knees; it cannot afford any further uncertainty.
Questions to the President for oral reply are particularly critical to democratic accountability since the President has steadfastly refused to take questions from the media. I have urged you to do the right thing by South Africa and allow me to put this question to President Ramaphosa for oral reply.