Is the Parliamentary Speaker shielding Ramaphosa from accountability for saying the Zondo recommendations are ‘not binding’?

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
29 Aug 2022 in News

Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has refused to allow me to submit an urgent question for tomorrow’s Questions to the President session in Parliament. I wanted to ask President Ramaphosa to clarify his recent statement under oath that the Zondo recommendations are “not binding”.

South Africa needs to know that the process to end state capture is on track and that the R1 billion plus of public money that paid for the Zondo Commission into State Capture was not for mere advice and not spent in vain.

The president is due to table his plan for implementing Zondo’s recommendations in October. South Africa needs to put maximum pressure on him to do the right thing by the country and implement the recommendations without fear or favour.

Particularly, Zondo’s conclusion that the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment is “illegal and unconstitutional” should be binding and should therefore decisively end that policy. Without cadre deployment, the ANC would not have been able to control almost every institution of state, making grand state capture possible and shackling all fight-back mechanisms.

The Speaker is meant to be an impartial presiding officer of the National Assembly which is constitutionally tasked to prevent abuse of power by the executive. But she too is simply a product of cadre deployment, the ANC’s project to “control all levers of power” in the party’s own interest, which enabled state capture in the first place.

I submitted the following urgent question in terms of rule 141 (1)(b) of the Rules of the National Assembly:

Having spent over a billion rand of public money on the Zondo Commission on State Capture, President Ramaphosa stated under oath in his answering affidavit to the DA last week that the recommendations of the Zondo Commission are “not binding”. This severely undermines the entire four-year process and implies the public has spent over a billion rand on mere advice that he can disregard if he so chooses. This is deeply concerning given that his own party was the prime offender. If he does not consider the findings of the Commission to be binding, what assurance can he give South Africa that he will consider its recommendations and make determinations without fear or favour?

The only logical conclusion is that Mapisa-Nqakula is protecting the executive from accountability, and by extension the whole ANC which was on the dock in the Zondo Commission.

Unless the public and parliament join the DA in applying maximum pressure on the President to do the right thing by South Africa, the Zondo Commission will meet the same dead-end as most other commissions and the Zondo Report will go down in history as the most expensive doorstop ever.