Parliament’s legal opinion confirms Zondo Commission report must be processed; contradicting Mapisa-Nqakula

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP – DA National Spokesperson
15 May 2022 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached a soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP.

A legal opinion which was sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, almost two months ago confirms that Parliament is empowered to and should begin the work of processing the Zondo Commission report. This is a massive departure from the Speaker’s argument that Parliament should wait until the President tables his implementation plan before beginning the work of holding those who have damning findings against them accountable.

Mapisa-Nqakula has been stalling this process in the National Assembly Programming Committee (NAPC) while sitting on a legal opinion drafted by Parliament’s own legal services for several weeks.

Two weeks ago, I wrote to the Speaker to make the argument that she should make this legal opinion public and Parliament should not delay in processing these reports. (See letter here).

Therefore, obtaining this legal opinion has been an important step in holding Parliament’s feet to the fire in dealing with the findings of the Zondo Commission report. We have long held that President Ramaphosa’s submission to Parliament will only pertain to consequence management of the executive and not delve into the work of Parliament. This is important for the doctrine of separation of powers.

Secondly, as the reports have clearly demonstrated, Parliament needs to set up its own processes of how it will deal with not only the implicated individuals, but also how it will strengthen its oversight functions going forward. This is not the domain of the President but that of Parliament. The argument to wait for the President can only be seen as delaying tactic and not in the interests of transparency and accountability.

Now that we have obtained this legal opinion and it states clearly what ought to be done by Parliament’s oversight bodies, we will ensure that this work begins immediately. We cannot sit idly while there are MPs, members of the executive and even presiding officers who are alleged to have facilitated state capture are not dealt with by Parliament.

The fight against corruption can only be won with an effective Parliament that takes its oversight role seriously.