President Ramaphosa appoints a three-member independent panel to enquire into docking of ''Lady R''

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a three-member independent panel to enquire into the circumstances of the docking of the Russian vessel known as Lady R in Simonstown, Western Cape, in December 2022.

COURTESY: Vessel tracker

Ramaphosa has appointed retired judge Phineas Mojapelo to lead the inquiry. The claims were raised by US Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Bridgety.

Soon after the claims emerged, Ramaphosa said a panel would be appointed to investigate. The Presidency announced the names of the three-member panel on Sunday morning.

“The President has appointed Judge PMD Mojapelo as Chairperson, together with Adv. Leah Gcabashe SC, and Mr Enver Surty as other members of the panel,” said Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.

“The President decided to establish the enquiry because of the seriousness of the allegations, the extent of public interest and the impact of this matter on South Africa’s international relations. The panel has been tasked to establish persons who were aware of the cargo ship’s arrival, and, if any, the contents to be off-loaded or loaded, the departure and destination of the cargo.”

Magwenya says the panel will report directly to President Ramaphosa.

“The panel’s report will include recommendations on any steps that may need to be taken in light of their findings or as a result of any breaches that may have occurred. The panel will report directly to the President and will be supported administratively by personnel in the Presidency assigned to this task by the Director-General in the Presidency.

According to the presidency, the panel will finalise its investigation within six weeks of its appointment and will be expected to submit its report to the president within two weeks of concluding its work. Magwenya added that the panel may request an extension of this time frame should it be necessary.


Done By: Esobusi Mkangelwa


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