MPs lash out at Floyd’s Shivambu’s ’unsubstantiated’ claim about right-wing forces
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Cape Town - EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu may be in hot water over the allegations he repeatedly made against the parliamentary legal services unit that it was infiltrated by right-wing forces.
Shivambu now has an option to substantiate his allegations or possibly face the consequences.
On Thursday, the National Assembly Programming Committee heard that the second in command of the Red Berets has not submitted a letter with evidence to the national legislature despite committing to do so a week ago.
This has prompted impatience on the other political parties with some pushing for an investigation and action against him.
“This matter is very serious and can not be left unattended to,” ANC’s Madala Ntombela said.
EFF’s Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi asked the committee what stopped the investigation if Shivambu did not write the letter.
ANC’s Hope Papo said there should be a deadline set for Shivambu to submit the letter.
“You can’t make allegations against people and not substantiate them. That issue must be investigated on the basis that there is substantiation of the matter,” Papo said.
He also said that August, the period after the recess, was too far.
“There has to be a short deadline,” Papo added.
EFF’s Natasha Ntlangwini said if Shivambu indicated that he would submit the letter that he will do so.
“It is not for any of us to put a timeline as to when you must submit your complaint and not,” Ntlangwini said.
She also said her party could be considering an internal investigation on the matter and that they could not be told by other parties about a deadline.
“We are not to be bullied here into this platform as to when the letter has to be submitted. The letter will be submitted after internal processes have taken place and that is it. They must wait,” Ntlangwini said.
IFP’s Narend Singh said it was on public record that the serious allegations were made against the legal services’ integrity.
“We have a responsibility as this committee and as Parliament to either say, yes, they did what they are alleged to have done or we must absolve them from those kinds of statements. It is a very serious matter that goes beyond receiving a statement,” Singh said.
“We have to deal with this matter in their interest as well because they can’t protect themselves,” he added.
ACDP’s Steve Swart said it was not unreasonable to ask for a reasonable time to submit the letter with substantive evidence.
“I suggest that the committee gives a reasonable time for the submission of such a complaint with substantiated evidence. Should the complaint not be forthcoming, clearly it should be dealt with and the allegation must be withdrawn,” Swart said.
Freedom Front Plus’ Corne Mulder mentioned that Shivambu made the allegation thrice, including this week at a meeting of the committee tasked to amend the constitution to provide for expropriation without compensation.
“It seems Mr Shivambu has got all the claims and substantiation needed. Obviously, we can’t let this hang in the air. We can’t wait until August. I am in favour of setting a specified time frame,” Mulder said.
He also said should Shivambu not substantiate his claim, “it should be withdrawn and we consider what action we will take.”
ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude said the matter could not be an EFF process as allegations were made in a parliamentary committee.
Dlakude said the substantiated letter should be submitted to Modise so that they receive a report on their return from the constituency period in August.
“If there is no substantive evidence submitted, it means those allegations were fabrications,” she said.
NFP’s Munzoor Shaik Emam supported a deadline for Shivambu to make his submission on the very serious allegations made on the integrity of legal services.
“If not then we need to conclude what to do, and obviously, there has to be serious consequences for making allegations of this nature. In my understanding this is a frivolous allegation but a serious one which affected the integrity of legal services,” Shaik Emam said.
Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said Shivambu should be granted a week and request him to withdraw his remarks unconditionally and apologise to the legal services.
“Failure to do that must constitute violation of the accepted conduct and further steps must be taken on the basis of that,” Tsenoli said.
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said the matter was not just about the legal services.
“It is about Parliament. It is Parliament’s reputation,” she said.
Modise said they could not afford the allegation that the legal service was “sponsored and so on”.
“We will come back and tell you how we intend to conclude this matter,” she said.