Phala Phala Probe: 17 Names For Panel Of Experts Given To Speaker

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has received a 17 nominations from political parties to serve on an Independent Panel of experts to probe the Phala Phala farm matter.

President Cyril Ramaphosa faces accusations of wrongdoing related to an alleged cover-up of a 2020 burglary on his Phala Phala farm, where sums of cash were stolen.

The President admits the burglary occurred, but denies any wrongdoing and insists that law enforcement agencies must be given space to probe the matter and pronounce their findings without interference.

“By the deadline of 1 September at 16h00, 12 of the 14 political parties in the National Assembly had submitted their nominations to the Office of the Speaker,” said a ccommuniqué from Parliament on Friday.

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.

The rules state that the Speaker must appoint the Panel after giving political parties represented in the Assembly a reasonable opportunity to put forward nominees, and after she has given due consideration to all persons so nominated.

“Of the 17 persons nominated, 12 are retired and serving judges, and five are Advocates of High Court, Senior Counsels, and Law Academics,” said the communiqué.

“After a careful consideration of the names at her disposal, the Speaker will appoint the Panel to begin the probe.”

The independent panel’s core function will be to conduct a preliminary assessment of the proposed motion and make a recommendation to the Speaker within 30 days.

The panel will recommend whether sufficient evidence exists to show the President committed any of the violations specified in the motion.