ANC MPs to vote against adoption of Phala Phala report
ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile told the media on Monday that the party’s National Executive Committee had taken a unanimous decision to back President Cyril Ramaphosa in his bid to avoid impeachment.
After robust debates during an ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Monday, the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences decided to derail plans for the possible impeachment of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile told the media on Monday that the NEC had taken a unanimous decision to back President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Section 89 panel’s report on the Phala Phala scandal will be debated and then adopted or rejected in Parliament in a week from now.
“The NEC received a report from the National Working Committee (NWC). The NWC went through the report, looked at a number of issues and then recommended to the National Executive Committee to then discuss and debate the issues.
“So it was agreed unanimously that the President should proceed. Secondly … the report itself … there was a lot of debate. And … there were comrades who felt maybe that the report should be rejected or maybe it should be noted, but at the end of that debate, the meeting agreed that once the report is taken on review, Parliament is going to debate it, as the ANC will vote against the report,” he said.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “In the toxic wake of Phala Phala, and too close to Nasrec, ANC will likely play for time and cooler temperatures”
Despite taking this stance, the NEC decided Ramaphosa must undergo all other investigations and disciplinary processes, including that of the party’s Integrity Committee.
“It means the President continues with his duties, but the NEC believes that the President must proceed to be held accountable… he will take the matter on review… subject himself to other processes of the Integrity Commission. There is another process on the Hawks and the Public Protector, those processes are going to continue.
“But the NEC did not take any decision for the President to stand down. How are we taking the country’s interests at heart when we do this? We have weighed everything. It is a view of the NEC that the decision that we take is in the best interests of the country that the President continues with his responsibilities,” Mashatile said.
The NEC meeting was held at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg. Ramaphosa could not attend the gathering in its entirety and recused himself from the meeting after delivering a short political address. This was to allow members to discuss the matter without fear or prejudice.
“The President himself was here that morning, made remarks and requested once more that you think he shouldn’t be in the meeting, the NEC agreed, and he left. The NEC deliberated on the issue for most of the day. We allowed many of the comrades to speak throughout the day. One thing that members agreed on outright is that it is the prerogative of the President to take this matter on review,” Mashatile said.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “The Fight Is On: Ramaphosa intends to challenge the Ngcobo Panel Report”
Ramaphosa has filed papers with the Constitutional Court, urging that it declare the Section 89 Phala Phala report as unlawful and to set it aside.
Ramaphosa is not only petitioning the Constitutional Court to dismiss the Independent Panel findings but also urging that any action taken by the National Assembly pursuant to the report be equally declared unlawful and invalid.
In the second part of his affidavit, the President applied for leave for the courts to allow him to bring this matter directly to the ConCourt in the interests of justice in terms of section 167(6)(a) of the Constitution and rule 18 of the Constitutional Court.
Read more in Daily Maverick: President Ramaphosa takes fight to ConCourt – Panel ‘misconceived its mandate and misjudged the information’
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Secret vote denied
On Monday morning, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula declined the African Transformation Movement’s (ATM’s) request to have the voting procedure on the report held by secret ballot.
ATM leader Vuyo Zungula wrote to Mapisa-Nqakula last week, requesting that she consider allowing MPs to vote through a secret ballot after the debate on the report.
“The Speaker also said she had to balance Mr Zungula’s reasons for a secret ballot procedure against other imperatives, including the foundational constitutional principle of ‘openness’, as set out in section 1(d) of the Constitution which guides South Africa’s democratic order. Furthermore, the Speaker said the constitutional requirement, as set out in section 59(1)(b), that the National Assembly must conduct its proceedings in an open manner was also an important consideration in this case.
“Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula said she believes that the constitutional imperatives set out above were equally compelling for the Assembly to uphold, when considered against her assessment of the prevailing political atmosphere in the country at present. An open and transparent procedure followed by the Assembly to exercise this important decision on the Section 89 Independent Panel Report can only bring about public trust and confidence in the Assembly and our democratic dispensation,” Parliament said in a statement. DM