/ 5 August 2022

Inquiry to start into Ramaphosa’s fitness to hold office

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP

An independent panel will investigate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s fitness to hold office, after speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula endorsed a motion brought by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) on 14 June. 

The ATM proposed the motion in terms of section 89 of the Constitution on the removal of the president. 

In a letter addressed to the ATM leader, Vuyo Zungula, dated 5 August, the speaker states: “As you are aware, processes and procedures of the national assembly are governed by the Constitution, the rules and established practice. The procedures to give effect to a section 89 enquiry on Removal of the President is outlined in Rules 129A-Q.”

According to section 89 (1) of the Constitution, a president may only be removed if they have committed a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, in the case of serious misconduct on behalf of the president or the president is unable to perform the functions of their office.

The ATM filed a complaint against Ramaphosa to the public protector in June about the burglary at his Phala Phala game farm in 2020. 

Ramaphosa missed an extended deadline to reply to questions from the public protector,  Busisiwe Mkhwebane, regarding the burglary. An investigation will take place as to whether he defied the executive ethics code. 

The investigation stems from a complaint filed to the public protector last month by Zungula. The public protector has since received three further complaints, one filed by the Democratic Alliance and two by members of the public.

In June, Mkhwebane confirmed that an investigation would follow, one day before she was suspended by Ramaphosa, pending the outcome of parliament’s section 194 inquiry into her fitness to hold office. 

Ramaphosa has denied suggestions by Mkhwebane and his political foes that it was an act of retaliation and has given assurances that the investigation will be conducted without fear or favour.

Mkhwebane faces a section 194 inquiry into her fitness to hold office.