Speech by Cde Somyo - National Assembly Mini-Plenary debate on the DA motion calling for the establishment of an Adhoc Committee

National Assembly Mini-Plenary debate on the DA motion calling for the establishment of an Adhoc Committee.

"Reaffirming the commitment of the ANC to due processes"

Mr Sakhumzi Somyo - ANC Member of Parliament.

27 September 2022

The African National Congress has received an electoral mandate to lead the Republic of South Africa. In responding to this mandate and vote of confidence by the people of this nation, we are given a responsibility premised on our historic mission of liberation.

The adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa laid a foundation for a democratic South Africa in which government is based on the will of the people, and every citizen is equally protected by law. The law also protects the President.

The President of the Republic of South Africa is the Head of State and is duty bound to uphold, defend and respect the constitution as the Supreme law of the Republic. For this reason, the President, in his first public statement on the theft at the Phala Phala farm. The Presidency stated that;

"President Ramaphosa stands ready to cooperate with any law enforcement investigation of these matters. President Ramaphosa remains resolute in leading the fight against corruption, restoring the integrity and capability of public institutions and overcoming the legacy of state capture, and will not be deterred by disinformation campaigns."

The President and various members of the Executive have been cooperating with all investigations whiles others are undertaking investigations from the Police, the Reserve Bank and other competent agencies. Therefore, there is no cover-up on the matter and reports will be tabled.

Honourable members, these are consistent with the ANC's position on accountability and ensuring that when allegations are raised against any leader of the ANC, the due process by competent institutions of the State in the three arms of the state based on the nature of the matter is central to testing the veracity of allegations raised. At this level of the State, Parliament needs to keep to the dictates of due process and evidence than rely on media reports.

The principle of facts and evidence is the only credible way of responding to the Phala Phala matter, as this matter has been triggered by the case the law enforcement agencies are investigating.

The DA's motion which the Speaker has already refused has no compelling grounds to warrant an Ad-Hoc Committee.

The Parliamentary Panel appointed by the Speaker will recommend to the National Assembly based on the merits and demerits of the actual primary matter, which is the source of the motion, and appropriate intervention by the National Assembly will follow.

Matters surrounding the theft and the various allegation on the role of other government departments are matters that are part of the operations of the different departments and are not of a strategic nature such that an Ad-Hoc Committee has to be established to respond to allegations raised which require investigation by law enforcement agencies.

Honourable members, these is so because allegations are an innate part of the execution of Executive Authority. Executive authority is politically contested, but what becomes objective and of substance is the evidence supporting allegations raised.

A comprehensive approach to scrutinising Executive Authority and Oversight is better done through the Portfolio Committees, which have a primary focus on the specific department which is in line with the Speaker's decision on the DA's request for an Ad-Hoc Committee.

The DA disregards the Speaker's decision and seeks to review it through a debate. This debate is a blatant abuse of the rules of this house. Honourable members, this motion is nothing else than an attempt to project the President as avoiding accountability, yet the matter relating to the theft is being investigated by all competent institutions, including Parliament.

The DA attempts to claim that the Phala Phala matter it seeks to focus on has no bearing on the process of the Independent Panel and is not linked to the work of state institutions, this is the lowest level of comprehension of the interconnectedness of the matter. The DA and the EFF have asked questions on various executive issues, and accountability should continue at that level.

The Leader of the DA is on record saying the DA will pursue all means to ensure accountability but what the leader of the opposition will not tell the people of South Africa is that the ANC has welcomed the establishment of the Independent Panel to test the allegations which its outcome will premise the response of Parliament on the matter.

The EFF through its Member asked the Minister of Police a question on 31 August 2022 on the involvement of crime intelligence which the Minister responded and further affirmed that no resources of the Crime Intelligence where used as alleged in relation the theft at Phala-Phala Farm but the matter is currently under investigation.

The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services responded to questions by another member of the EFF which he responded and stated that " the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, has not yet initiated criminal prosecutions against any persons allegedly involved in the theft committed at the Phala Phala game farm. As the criminal investigations in respect of the allegations are still underway"

The ANC will ensure that we follow due process to ventilate the allegations, but as a governing party, we have a duty which the opposition does not have the constitutional mandate of governing and ensuring stability through evidence-based decision making, which is fundamental to responding to problems in a systematic manner.

And in the words of the President, in his response to the question by the Democratic Alliance on this matter, he stated that  " those who are dealing with these matters have said it is important that we be given time and space to deal with all the aspects of this matter."

The ANC will play its oversight role on the matter and as we stated in our Caucus statement on the game farm theft, this motion is a rushed attempt to pre-empt proper investigations and to try and achieve political power through the back door. We do not support this motion and reject it with the contempt it deserves.