The National Assembly’s vote on whether to institute impeachment proceedings against President Cyril Ramaphosa over allegations relating to his Phala Phala farm has been postponed for a week.
Parties unanimously agreed to postpone the vote to December 13 at a hastily arranged “special” meeting of the National Assembly Programming Committee at 21:00 on Monday, 13 hours before it was scheduled to take place.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said the matter should be discussed in person rather than virtually, so that all members are “under the protection of Parliament,” as opposed to what happened earlier this year during a motion of no confidence, when all ANC MPs were “frogmarched” into a hotel conference room.
He claimed that MPs represent the people and that Parliament is obligated to create “safe spaces” for them to vote.
“It is not safe to hold this forum – tomorrow’s meeting – on the virtual platform,” he said.
Doris Dlakude, ANC deputy chief whip, took issue with Shivambu’s claim that they “frogmarched” MPs into one room to control how they voted.
She stated that many of their members did not live in cities and had difficulty connecting. They accommodated everyone in Cape Town to avoid a situation in which they could not vote.
The plenary on Tuesday will proceed as scheduled.
However, the impeachment vote will be the only item on the order paper at next Tuesday’s plenary meeting.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly, could not be persuaded to hold the vote by secret ballot.
Following a tense meeting in which most opposition parties smelled blood, the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) announced on Monday that its MPs would vote against the motion.
Zungula filed the motion shortly after former spy boss Arthur Fraser charged Ramaphosa, Presidential Protection Unit head Major General Wally Rhoode, and Crime Intelligence members with kidnapping and money laundering for allegedly concealing a burglary at the Phala Phala farm in February 2020.
Fraser began the case on June 1, 2022.
According to Fraser’s affidavit, Ramaphosa had at least $4 million in cash stashed in a couch at the farm and then helped cover up an allegedly illegal investigation into the burglary.
In September, the ANC voted down a DA motion to form an ad hoc committee to investigate the Phala Phala scandal.