Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has decided to exclude Professor Richard Calland from the panel that will investigate whether evidence exists for the possible impeachment of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This relates to the theft of millions of American dollars from Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm two years ago. Calland, an Associate Professor of Public Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT) was part of a three-member panel, which included Justice Sandile Ngcobo, and Judge Thokozile Masipa.
Calland was nominated by the GOOD party to serve on the panel. However, the DA and EFF raised objections, questioning his independence.
The EFF issued a statement saying they welcome the exclusion because Calland is a cheerleader for the President and that he had expressed his support for Ramaphosa to serve a second term as ANC president and president of the country.
DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube says Calland’s capability as a lawyer is not in question but rather the perceived bias towards the President.
Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo explains the decision by the Speaker.
“Having considered all submissions from parties as well as legal opinion from legal unit speaker of opinion that while no evidence of bias, the integrity of panel will be better if Calland is excluded from panel,” Mothapo said.
Calland says he has accepted the decision by the Speaker not to include him on the panel. In a statement, he defended his independence and rejected any suggestion of bias. The Speaker has since appointed Advocate Mahlape Sello to be part of the panel.
“The Speaker appointed Sello, a respected senior counsel with decades of experience in legal practice and who recently served on Judicial Commission on State Capture to serve on panel to resume work at a date to be determined in writing,” Mothapo added.
VIDEO: Prof Calland responds to objection to his appointment to the Phala Phala panel:
GOOD party MP Brett Herron says they are disappointed that the Speaker has withdrawn the inclusion of Professor Calland on the panel. Herron says the decision by the Speaker is regrettable.
“It sets dangerous precedent that the Speaker capitulated to social media pressure, to reverse important appointment to a critical process. Prof Calland’s legal skill, independence and professionalism is above reproach as further evidence in the manner he handled this tricky situation,” Herron said.
VIDEO: GOOD party disappointed the Speaker succumbed to pressure and ‘social media noise’ on Prof Calland: