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Richard Calland quits Phala Phala panel amid objections

Richard Calland, political analyst and associate professor of public law at the University of Cape Town.
Richard Calland, political analyst and associate professor of public law at the University of Cape Town.
Image: Supplied

Adv Mahlape Sello has been appointed to serve serve on the panel looking into President Cyril Ramaphosa's Phala Phala saga.

Sello who recently served on the commission of inquiry into state capture joins former chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo and former high court judge Thokozile Masipa.

He appointment comes after University of Cape Town law professor Richard Calland quit.

"The date of the resumption of the panel’s process will be announced in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC), and the panel will have 30 days within which to conclude and table a report of its findings and recommendations on its work," said Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo in a statement on Tuesday.

Calland’s inclusion in the independent panel of three, appointed by parliament speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has been met with objections from opposition parties.

The panel would look into whether there was prima facie evidence of misconduct against Ramaphosa. This follows allegations that millions in foreign currency were stolen from his Limpopo farm in 2020, and that there were efforts involving state apparatus to conceal the robbery.

The parties had argued Calland had shown “consistent bias towards the president, which makes him unsuitable for this role”.

On Tuesday Mapisa-Nqakula wrote to the DA’s parliamentary chief whip Siviwe Gwarube informing her she had taken note of their and the EFF’s objections, and had decided to withdraw Calland’s name from the independent panel.

Mapisa-Nqakula also said she had asked Calland to respond to the allegations against him, in which he agreed his inclusion would compromise the work of the panel.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Calland said he had accepted the decision to withdraw his name from the panel.

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