Phala Phala panel deadline extended ‘due to amount of work’
Panel Chair CJ Sandile Ngcobo requested the extension.
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the COP27 climate conference on 8 November 2022. Photo: AFP/Ahmad Gharabli
The panel formed to investigate the Phala Phala incident was granted an extension for the submission of the report until the end of the month.
Phala Phala report deadline extended
The panel was formed to determine whether President Cyril Ramaphosa has a case to answer regarding the robbery at his Phala Phala farm.
????BREAKING: Phala Phala panel deadline extended to the end of November. Former chief justice and panel chair Sandile Ngcobo requested more time. Full story to follow.#PhalaPhalaFarmGate #PhalaPhalaFarm #CyrilRamaphosa pic.twitter.com/o91zfuoTh5— The Citizen News (@TheCitizen_News) November 16, 2022
Extended due to workload
Parliament speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula extended the deadline by 13 days – from 17 November to 30 November.
Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo confirmed the update, saying Ngcobo asked for the extension “due to the amount of work still to be done”.
National Assembly Speaker has extended deadline on which the Panel of Experts will submit its report from 17 Nov to 30 Nov. This follows letter by Panel Chair, Retired CJ Sandile Ngcobo, requesting extension due to the amount of work still to be done. Full statement to follow— Moloto Mothapo (@MolotoMothapo) November 16, 2022
Mothapo said retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo had asked Mapisa-Nqakula for an extension until November 30.
The panel’s report was meant to be submitted on Thursday.
Parliament’s spokesperson said Ngcobo “had, based on its assessment of the amount of ground still to be covered, and the available resources, determined that the enquiry should be completed within 13 days, that is by 30 November 2022”.
The panel said the additional time requested was realistic “taking into account the importance of the enquiry, its complexity, as well as the novelty of the nature of work involved”.
Mothapo said Mapisa-Nqakula was aware “that the current rules governing the Section 89 process do not provide for extension of deadline for submission of the panel report. In this regard, the Speaker has invoked Rule 6 – which deals with unforeseen circumstances – to accede to the panel’s request”.
DA says delay might be ‘politically motivated’
After the deadline was extended, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would propose that Parliament’s programme be extended to deal with the report. Parliament’s term for 2022 ends on December 1.
“The matter cannot be delayed or deferred to next year. It is urgent. No sitting president should have a question of whether or not he broke the law and by extension his oath of office hanging over this head,” said DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube.
The DA said it will ask other opposition parties to support its call to extend the programme of Parliament, adding that the delays might be “politically motivated”.
Three-person Phala Phala panel
Back in November, Mapisa-Nqakula said the panel will be chaired by former Constitutional Court (ConCourt) chief justice Ngcobo.
Former Gauteng Division High Court judge Thokozile Masipa and advocate Mahlape Sello also sit on the three-person panel.
The panel must decide whether President Ramaphosa will be subject to a process that may lead to his removal from office.
As reported by Clive Ndou from The Witness, the probe into Ramaphosa’s role could “spell chaos and plunge South Africa into unprecedented political upheaval”.
The impeachment proceedings could result in the removal of Ramaphosa, who would be the first sitting head of the state in the country’s history to be removed in that fashion.
Constitutional law expert Professor Karthy Govender said even if the panel were to find against Ramaphosa, MPs still have to decide whether to go ahead with impeachment proceedings.