CAPE TOWN – The African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament has staved off an attempt by the opposition to debate the Phala Phala farm saga on Thursday – at least for now.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted its motion last week, calling for the establishment of an ad hoc committee to investigate matters related to the burglary on the president’s farm.
But at the eleventh hour, the ANC has now put a stop to the debate.
It says MPs have not been given sufficient time to prepare.
On Friday, Parliament accepted a request by the DA to change the topic of its mini-debate scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube believes party whips agreed to the change on Tuesday.
“Ultimately, the rules give us the right to be able to change our motion, as long as it’s within the rules, and as long we are able to get our motion on the order paper 24 hours before,” Gwarube said.
But on Thursday morning, in a programme committee meeting, the ANC’s deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude accused the DA of trying to smuggle the change at the last minute and threatened to reject the order paper if it was scheduled.
“Even if the rules allow for that, there is this process under way. The panel will be assessing whether or not there’s prima facie evidence. What we see here is the DA trying to pre-empt those processes,” Dlakude said.
The DA had the support of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and African Transformation Movement (ATM) in today’s meeting, for the debate to proceed this afternoon.
But, to no avail.
Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says consideration will be given to debate the motion next week instead.