Mapisa-Nqakula cautions against a stampede to investigate Ramaphosa

07 June 2022 - 22:11
By Andisiwe Makinana
National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Image: Gallo Images/Rapport/Deaan Vivier National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has warned parliament against being caught up in the frenzy surrounding the 2020 robbery at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm, saying it should carefully consider how to approach the matter.

Mapisa-Nqakula said she was applying her mind to all the requests from various political parties on how the matter should be handled.

“Of course the president has indicated that he is ready to co-operate with the law- enforcement agencies. So whatever it is that we do at the end of it all, we must not have parallel processes running. But also there shouldn’t be a stampede because once there is a stampede, in Xhosa we say uzakuyibhuda (you will mess it up).

“If you rush into something uzakuyibhuda, you will go crashing into the wall,” she added.

She was responding to calls by various opposition MPs who said parliament, as a body constitutionally obliged to oversee the executive, has to move against Ramaphosa.

Rule 167 of the National Assembly rule book empowers parliament committees to summon any person to appear before them to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents, receive petitions, representations or submissions from interested people or institutions, among other things.

Mapisa-Nqakula referred to UDM leader Bantu Holomisa’s letter on Monday, in which he called on parliament to appoint retired Constitutional Court judges to investigate allegations against Ramaphosa, and a letter from the African Transformation Movement’s Vuyo Zungula in which he requested the speaker to establish a parliamentary inquiry into whether the alleged serious violation of the law and the alleged serious misconduct by the president are substantiated. This would lead to a section 89 removal of the president from office if the allegations are substantiated, according to Zungula.

MPs were debating parliament's budget, which Mapisa-Nqakula tabled on Tuesday.

In Ramaphosa’s defence, ANC MP Bheki Radebe said the president has a right to due legal process, he was not arrested and has not been charged.

“He says he is going to co-operate with the legal processes. I don’t think that as this parliament we must put the cart before the horse. You know very well a person has got a right to protect himself, he cannot incriminate himself,” said Radebe.

The UDM’s Nqabayomzi Kwankwa reminded Mapisa-Nqakula that Holomisa had written to her asking that a process be set in motion to inquire and to investigate the allegations that are made against the president where he is alleged to have laundered money and attempted to evade tax.

“I thought that after the realisation of all the aforementioned that SA is on the brink of becoming a failed state was enough for us to get us to back away from the precipice.

“However, after listening to our colleagues making all sorts of irrational arguments in defence of the president in respect of these allegations that relate to the theft of more than $4m hidden at his farm, I felt a strong sense of de ja vu,” he said.

Kwankwa said parliament has to be seen to be acting against Ramaphosa in the same way it (eventually) acted against his predecessor Jacob Zuma when there were allegations against him.

“Otherwise our soft stance on the president in light of these allegations reeks of hypocrisy. For our country’s sake this house needs to ensure that Ramaphosa is held to account and that is he censured appropriately,” he said.

The DA’s Siviwe Gwarube noted that a functional parliament would have jumped swiftly to deal with the findings of the Zondo commission and probe Ramaphosa.

We should act with speed to demand answers from President Ramaphosa regarding the millions of rand that were found on his property. Questions about how that much money that was allowed to be stored in his farm; how a suspect accused of this theft was dealt with outside the criminal justice system; and whether Sars was made aware of this sum of money — should come directly from this house,” she said,

Gwarube added no sitting president should simply go on about his business while parliament sits idle.

EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini was thrown out of the house at the end of her speech when she referred to Ramaphosa as a criminal and a money-launderer.

Ntlangwini called on Ramaphosa to step down, saying her party will come for him and that he will never enjoy peace in parliament.

When instructed to withdraw, she retorted: “My conscience would not allow it”, repeating Ramaphosa's words he uttered at the ANC provincial conference in Limpopo at the weekend. He had told party supporters that he would never steal taxpayers' money as his conscious would not allow it. 

Ntlangwini was then instructed to leave the house.


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