‘Ramaphosa is not corrupt’ – Motion to establish ad-hoc committee to probe Phala Phala rejected
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu said that the $580 000 found at Ramaphosa’s farm was not declared speaks volumes.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
Members of Parliament (MPs) have voted against the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) motion for the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to investigate the burglary at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in February 2020.
On Wednesday evening, 204 MPs voted against the motion, while 135 voted in favour of the establishment of the ad-hoc committee.
In favour of establishment of ad-hoc committee
Arguing in favour of the motion, the Freedom Front Plus said ANC MPs should support the motion if they believe in the innocence of their president.
“There are a lot on unanswered questions, why don’t you want answers? They did this with Nkandla and state capture and protected themselves. This government has lost its moral compass, you don’t act in the interests of South Africans but yourself,” said the party.
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) also argued in favour of the motion “as a matter of principle”.
“It must be noted that we supported the section 89 panel. MPs have a constitutional responsibility and mandate to hold the president to account. As a matter of principle, we support the establishment of the committee,” it said.
United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said the ad-hoc committee should be established to investigate exactly what happened at the Phala Phala farm.
“Allegations of a cover-up have been destructive to the country’s image and affected investors’ confidence negatively, especially after Ramaphosa promised to be a champion of good governance.
“The situation was further complicated by involvement of police. It is in the interest of the president and ruling party to establish the ad-hoc committee. Unfortunately the president cannot run away from parliament. UDM supports the establishment of the committee.”
African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader Vuyo Zungula said parliament had a duty to hold executives to account, amid accusations that it has failed in its duty to protect the constitution.
“If you love your president, you will support this motion because it will help him find the thief who broke into his farm. Parliament must assure citizens that it is effective. How will parliament reprimand departments that fail in their constitutional mandate when it is itself failing to do it? If indeed Ramaphosa committed no crime, then this motion must be supported,” he said.
Parties against the motion
GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron said his party rejected the motion, saying nothing had changed since the same proposal was debated six months ago. Nothing has changed since the report by the Independent Panel was rejected by this house three months ago, Herron said.
“The matter may well return to Parliament for a new decision, should the Hawks, the Public Protector, the SA Reserve Bank or SARS conclude that the President should be charged with a crime or has acted illegally or in breach of the Executive Ethics Act,” he said.
“That hasn’t happened yet and we should allow the authorities to conclude their investigations without fear, favour or this opportunistic political interference.”
The National Freedom Party (NFP) said it was against the establishment of the ad-hoc committee as the Public Protector and Sars had cleared Ramaphosa.
“When President Ramaphosa said he wants to deal with corruption, do you think by removing him you’re not blocking him from doing it? The obsession with ad-hoc committees must come to an end. You remove Ramaphosa today, all the corruption investigations will be wiped out. Let law enforcement must take its course,” it said.
“Ramaphosa is not a corrupt person. He has not committed any crime that is impeachable. Al-Jamah does not support the ad-hoc committee,” said the party.
The African National Congress (ANC) said it rejected the establishment of the ad-hoc committee because the DA’s proposal already had a “predetermined” conclusion that Ramaphosa was guilty.
“This violates his right to presumption of innocence. It’s opportunistic because the motion of the establishment of an ad-hoc committee ignores findings of the Sars and Public Protector. This motion risks undermining the authority and legitimacy of the National Assembly to hold the executive to account.
“It gives the impression that the National Assembly is willing to interfere with the work of the Hawks and other law enforcement agencies. There is no evidence that President Ramaphosa committed any crime. Opposition is extremely desperate. We have elections next year but they can’t use their energy to mobilise the masses for their cause. We will win this election and they will remain as opposition.”