Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist


EFF, DA wants committee looking into Phala Phala, ANC MP vows to ‘defeat it’

Parties want an ad hoc committee to be established to deal with the Phala Phala matter.


Opposition parties are pushing for Parliament to deal with the Phala Phala scandal in light of the revelations from South African Revenue Service (Sars).

This week, it emerged that the $580 000 found at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm in Limpopo was not declared when it arrived in the country.

Ramaphosa previously claimed to have received the money from Sudanese businessman, Hazim Mustafa, as payment for cattle as part of a legitimate business transaction.

ALSO READ: Mustafa may have declared Phala Phala money, but did Ramaphosa?

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are now asking Parliament to revive the matter after the Section 89 panel’s report on whether Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry was rejected via an open vote last December.

The political parties have asked National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to establish an ad hoc committee to look into the 2020 robbery at Phala Phala farm.

‘New facts’

In a National Assembly Programming Committee meeting on Thursday, DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said her party decided to table another motion on Phala Phala since it’s a new parliamentary year.

“This is spurred by new facts which have been revealed by Sars around the alleged complicity of the president in terms of tax laws. We know that the Section 89 panel process was completed without establishing an impeachment inquiry and our view is that Parliament has yet to investigate the matter fully so we would like the opportunity to bring thus to the House,” she said.

EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi said the ad hoc committee was needed “because we want to start the process of removing the president”.

“South Africans are waiting for Parliament to do their work, not to shield the president because he is accountable even here in Parliament,” Mkhaliphi told the committee on Thursday.

RELATED: Many compliance questions remain in Phala Phala dollar saga

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) voiced their support for the establishment of the committee.

“When we took the decision last year, we shielded the president from accountability. We protected and prevented the same very institution that elected him into office, which is wrong. We need to correct that,” UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said.

African National Congress (ANC) MP Hope Papo said he was of the view that the DA’s motion will fail.

“There are investigations by law enforcement agencies. That motion can be brought and it will be defeated again, I think that must be clear from the onset,” he said.

ANC chief whip, Pemmy Majodina, suggested that the motion be discussed at a plenary in the National Assembly.

“That debate in the mini-plenary will then outline what needs to be done,” she said.

‘Empowered’

In her response, Mapisa-Nqakula told MPs that it was not for her to decide whether to allow the motion to proceed and the matter would be handled in a mini-plenary where political parties would make declarations.

“Honourable members ought to discuss the matters themselves and agree whether to take it to the National Assembly,” she said.

But Gwarube highlighted that the DA wants the motion to proceed without a debate.

“We are requesting [our draft resolution on the ad hoc committee] be scheduled for a vote to the House as we are empowered by Rule 119 [of the National Assembly].

READ MORE: Phala Phala: DA sends Sars documents to public protector to assist its investigation

“Whether or not there are issues that need to be debated, we are empowered to this vote done with or without a debate. We don’t want to use a mini-plenary to discuss the matter because it was discussed in September and substantively we traversed a number of issues.”

Freedom Front Plus (FF+) MP Corné Mulder said he believed the declarations would be necessary without a debate.

“My interpretation is that there would have to be declarations because this is not a question of whether we had a debate yesterday or last week.”

Mapisa-Nqakula said the Programming Committee would next Thursday, decide on a date when the issue would be brought for discussion in the National Assembly.

Watch the meeting below:

‘Multi-party process’

Earlier, Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli dismissed the suggestion from opposition parties that Parliament shielded Ramaphosa when Phala Phala was voted on last year.

“Honourable Nqaba Kwankwa made a point I disagree with fundamentally. We protected nobody in the House. When the president exercises his legal rights, it cannot be reduced to us protecting him,” Tsenoli told the committee.

“In the first place, what is the rule of law if it does not mean if there is still room for you to go to court to require them to intervene on your behalf. How can it mean that we are protecting him? They mustn’t say so if it doesn’t affect them in their interest because the decision-making is that there should be a vote.”

The deputy speaker insisted that Parliament was a democratic process.

“It’s a multi-party process and the implications are that a vote will go according to the preference of each political party. I disagree with the assertion that we protected the president.

“That’s not our job. Our job is to run Parliament properly, follow the rules. If we do not follow the rules then we would have been wrong. But we followed the rules and the president has rights like all of us,” he said.

NOW READ: Tax evasion can put ‘stain on Ramaphosa’s reputation and fitness to hold office’