President Cyril Ramaphosa too ill to face Q&A in parliament
President Cyril Ramaphosa's scheduled appearance in parliament on Thursday has been shelved until further notice‚ parliament announced on Wednesday.
Parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the decision was reached "based on medical advice" that Ramaphosa would not be able to appear before the National Assembly.
"A new date for the president’s oral question session will be determined by the National Assembly programming committee‚" said Mothapo in a statement.
On Tuesday the presidency announced that Ramaphosa had postponed a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to health reasons.
"President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Joseph Kabila of the DRC will at a future stage ratify the agreements reached between the two countries at the 11th Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) currently underway in Kinshasa‚" said a statement on the presidency website.
"President Ramaphosa was due to travel to Kinshasa [on Monday] but was advised by doctors to recover from an upper respiratory tract infection before undertaking prolonged travel. The president is receiving medical attention and making a good recovery."
Ramaphosa was expected to respond to questions about the government's stimulus package aimed at lifting the country out of recession and the government's plan to fight the rising rate of violent crime.
However‚ opposition leader Mmusi Maimane wanted to sneak in an urgent question to the president about the VBS Mutual Bank scandal‚ following weekend reports that Ramaphosa had been alerted about the looting when he was deputy president.
On Wednesday Maimane announced that he had written to Baleka Mbete‚ the speaker of the National Assembly‚ requesting that parliament hold an urgent debate on the scandal.
"It is crucial that parliament exercises its mandate and allows an urgent debate on this. The matter meets the criteria for an urgent national debate as the implications of this scandal are wide-reaching‚ considering that billions in public money has been stolen‚" said Maimane.
Maimane said while those implicated in the South African Reserve Bank report should be criminally charged‚ Ramaphosa needed to answer for his alleged role.
"The role of President Cyril Ramaphosa in the scandal needs parliament’s urgent consideration. If it is true that the president had prior knowledge of the corruption and looting at VBS and failed to act‚ he may be criminally liable in terms of Section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004 (PACCA)."
Ramaphosa's office issued a statement earlier this week refuting allegations that he knew about the VBS looting.