Cape Town - National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has advised the EFF that the rules of the national legislature did not permit the establishment of a Section 89 inquiry against a president without a prescribed process.
This comes after the red berets wrote to Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday to establish the impeachment process against President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The party’s demand came after the Constitutional Court dashed Ramaphosa’s hopes of reviewing and setting aside the report of the independent panel led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, which found that he has a case to answer on the Phala Phala scandal.
The apex court had concluded that Ramaphosa had not made a case for exclusive jurisdiction or direct access.
Ramaphosa approached the court to review and set aside the report in December ahead of the National Assembly voting against the report.
On Thursday, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the EFF had wanted its proposal for the establishment of a Section 89 panel included for discussion in the agenda of the National Assembly Programme Committee (NAPC), which met earlier in the day.
“In the letter, the EFF asked the Speaker to also prepare a motion for the establishment of an impeachment committee for the Section 89 inquiry, to serve before the NAPC for discussion.
“In her reply, the Speaker said the order of the Constitutional Court of March 1, 2023, that the President had not made out a case for exclusive jurisdiction or direct access to the Court, in no way invalidates the decision of the Assembly taken on December 13, 2022 when the matter was concluded,” he said.
Parliament had considered the Section 89 report and decided not to adopt it, a move that effectively meant the impeachment process against Ramaphosa could not be instituted.
Mothapo also said the Constitutional Court order made no findings in relation to the merits of the panel report or the validity of the decision of the National Assembly.
However, the ATM has since approached the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside Mapisa-Nqakula’s decision to reject its request for a secret vote on the Section 89 independent panel report.
The application was heard last month by the full bench of the high court and judgment was reserved.
ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula said in court papers the decision to reject his party’s request for a secret ballot should be declared unconstitutional and invalid.
Zungula also said Mapisa-Nqakula applied an incorrect test when determining the voting procedure.
Mapisa-Nqakula argued in turn that the ATM’s application was seeking sweeping relief that would intrude into the authority of parliament.
She said she was empowered by the parliamentary rules to exercise discretion to determine voting procedure.