National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says she is “considering the substantive issues raised” relating to the $4 million robbery at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Limpopo farm.
This comes after a request from the African Transformational Movement (ATM) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM), who wrote to the Speaker asking that Parliament establish an inquiry into the matter.
‘Business as usual’
During Thursday’s National Assembly Programming Committee meeting, Mapisa-Nqakula assured MPs that she will look into the matter and indicated that her decision on the parliamentary inquiry will be communicated next week.
The Speaker also rejected ATM president Vuyo Zungula’s request that a Q&A session with Ramaphosa be scheduled before the end of this parliamentary term.
The president is expected to answer MPs’ oral questions on 30 August and 29 September. His last session in Parliament took place on 17 March.
However, Zungula argued that “it cannot be business as usual”.
“We are having a serious issue in our country whereby a president has got allegations against him, therefore it cannot be business as usual and Parliament can’t be seen as if it is nonchalant on the issues that are raised around the head of state,” he said.
“It cannot be Speaker that we are going to allow this to go on as if it is not a serious issue. Before the term ends, the president must come to Parliament and take the nation into his confidence on whatever he is accused of,” Zungula added.
Later on, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina defended Ramaphosa.
“Zungula is saying there are allegations, and now he wants us to summon the president on the allegations, that we are not going to do.
“That is not within the rules anywhere; on allegations, the case that is not with us, on a case that is open in a police station. On what basis should we summon the president?” she said.
Meanwhile, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Hlengwiwe Mkhaliphi asked what Parliament was doing about the allegations against Ramaphosa.
“What is the speaker doing about these serious allegations that are facing the president? We must not be seen as rubber stamping of Cabinet.
“We are here because of Parliament, which is supposed to ensure Cabinet, ministers, the executive, is held accountable, especially if there is a serious matter [such] as this matter that is dominating the country,” Mkhaliphi said.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DCPI), also known as the Hawks, has confirmed that it has received the docket into the robbery from the South African Police Service (Saps).
Hawks spokesperspon Brigadier Nomthandazo Mbambo told Newzroom Afrika on Thursday that criminal charges laid are under investigation.
“We can confirm as the Hawks that we have received the docket on charges of money laundering as well as kidnapping that were reported.
“At this stage, we cannot say that the charges are against any particular person… we are just investigating the crime that has been brought before us,” she said.
Mbambo said despite the information on the robbery being in the public eye, the Hawks will only communicate on who is liable for the crime upon conclusion of its investigation, which is at a preliminary stage.
As the case against Ramaphosa also involves Namibian President Hage Geingob, who has denied the allegations, Mbambo said the Hawks will investigate any person regardless of their stature.
“We will be in touch with whoever can assist with this particular investigation. We follow where the investigation leads,” she said.
She added that the Hawks “won’t be in a hurry to finish this investigation” because of the complexity of the case.
The Public Protector’s office also confirmed on Wednesday that a complaint was lodged by the ATM against Ramaphosa for allegedly breaching the Executive Code of Ethics.
The investigation and report into the incident would be completed in 30 days.