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Parliament denies claims of delaying investigation into “Farmgate” corruption saga

Parliament has rejected claims that it is “dragging its feet” in investigating President Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm, which was recently the subject of a damning news exposé tying the president to illegal activities including tax evasion, and money laundering.

In a statement defending itself from criticism, Parliament said the accusations of stalling the investigations were unfounded.

Parliament spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo says that Parliament is not deliberately delaying, but is taking all the necessary actions.

Mothapo confirmed the Speaker of the National Assembly, Speaker  Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had previously rejected a motion from the African Transformation Movement (ATM) member Vuyo Zungula leader, but was eventually able to allow it since it now within the bounds of the rules.

“The delay in processing this matter was, therefore, never out of the alleged inaction on the part of the Speaker,” Mothapo said.

According to Mothapo the Speaker of Parliament had last month received a motion from ATM member Vuyo Zungula , submitted in accordance with Section 89 of the Constitution and Rules 129A-Q.

He said Rule 129C of the NA Rules provides that when the motion is in order, the Speaker must immediately refer it and supporting documents to an independent panel of experts.

“The Speaker must appoint the panel after giving all the political parties represented in the Assembly a chance to nominate the panelists and only when she has given due consideration to all those nominated.”

Mothapo said that, as a result of this, the Speaker has invited political parties to propose names of people who are fit and proper for appointment to serve on the panel.

In this regard, Mothapo said the National Assembly welcomes the parties’ commitment to submitting their proposals by September 1, 2022.

“The independent panel, which the National Assembly appointed, must report within 30 days on whether there is sufficient evidence to show the President committed the violations specified in the motion.”

He stated that once the work of the panel is completed, it will be presented to the National Assembly for consideration and decision, saying as previously stated, the Panel referral does not constitute an impeachment procedure.

The impeachment process, or a special Section 89 Committee, may be established only based on the panel’s findings and recommendations, and only after the House makes a decision.

According to the National Assembly rules, Mothopo said the call by some political groups for the establishment of an impeachment committee is premature and inconsistent with current parliamentary rules and procedures.

It is critical that Members understand the Rules’ transparent processes so that South Africans are not misled.

The Speaker has referred allegations made by Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, requesting the establishment of an ad hoc Committee to investigate the Phala Phala game farm matter.

“The Speaker believes that some of the allegations deserved further investigation by the Joint Standing Committee,” Mothapo added.

 

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