Former Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Sandile Ngcobo has been appointed to lead an independent panel to consider whether President Cyril Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, announced on Wednesday night that Ngcobo, former Judge of the Gauteng Division of the High Court Thokozile Masipa and Professor Richard Calland, Associate Professor of Public Law at the University of Cape Town will consider the evidence related to an alleged cover-up of a robbery at Ramaphosa’s game farm.
Thokozile Masipa and Oscar Pistorius
Masipa drew national and international attention when she presided over convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius’ trial in which the Paralympian was found guilty.
She did not find the former Pistorius guilty of murder – a decision that was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
The trio on the panel will conduct a preliminary assessment of the motion in accordance with Section 89 of the Constitution.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in terms of the Rules, the speaker must appoint the panel after giving political parties represented in the Assembly a reasonable opportunity to put forward nominees.
“The Rules state that the panel must consist of three fit and proper, competent, experienced and respected South African citizens, which may include a Judge, and who collectively possess the necessary legal and other competencies and experience to perform the preliminary assessment of the motion.
“If a Judge is to be appointed, the Speaker must do so in consultation with the Chief Justice,” Mothapo said.
Commencement of Probe
The panel which will have thirty days to start the probe into the robbery and report back to Nqakula, follows a motion b African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader Vuyolwethu Zungula, claiming that Ramaphosa committed misconduct about what transpired on his Phala Phala farm in 2020.
Nqakula said the panel will commence its work on a date to be determined following the conclusion of administrative processes.
Phala Phala Robbery
Ramaphosa, who is an avid and well-known game collector and breeder of Africa’s exotic wildlife, is facing mounting pressure to open up about an alleged cover-up of a robbery that occurred on his private Phala Phala wildlife farm in 2020.
In June, former State Security Agency boss – and well-known supporter of former President Jacob Zuma – Arthur Fraser dropped a bombshell when he filed criminal charges against Ramaphosa.
According to Fraser’s 48-page affidavit, a domestic worker in the president’s employ on his farm had discovered an undisclosed sum of US dollars concealed in the furniture on the Phala Phala premises.
Despite angry badgering from MPs, earlier this month, Ramaphosa stuck to his guns in Parliament, once again refusing to answer specific questions related to the robbery.
Ramaphosa said he would let the investigative process be completed before commenting.