Molefe Seeletsa

Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Opposition calls on NPA to charge Ramaphosa over Phala Phala saga

The EFF also urged the National Assembly Speaker to establish an impeachment committee.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been urged to take action against President Cyril Ramaphosa over the Phala Phala scandal.

On Monday, the Presidency confirmed that Ramaphosa will no longer be challenging the lawfulness and validity of the Phala Phala report by the Section 89 independent panel.

The panel, led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, had found that the president may have a case to answer regarding the theft of foreign currency from his farm in Limpopo in 2020.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa drops court challenge against section 89 panel report on Phala Phala

But the African National Congress (ANC) used its majority in Parliament to vote against the adoption of the report in December last year.

The governing party also voted against the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to investigate Phala Phala just over two months ago.

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) declined to hear Ramaphosa’s review application challenging the report and referred to the president a lower court instead.

The president has since been advised there was no basis to continue with the legal challenge in a high court because the matter was now moot.

Ramaphosa may still approach the courts if needed, according to the Presidency.

‘Serious criminal offence’

Reacting to the developments, United Democratic Movement (UDM) president Bantu Holomisa said he was of the view that the legal challenge never had any merit.

According to Holomisa, the litigation was pursued by the president to “mislead” Parliament into believing that the matter was “before the courts”.

“It was also used to open the way for Ramaphosa to stand for re-election as ANC president at Nasrec. In short it was a blatant abuse of the court process to achieve ulterior motives.

“The report now stands as a valid document with a finding by independent and very senior legal experts that the president has a case to answer for the serious criminal offence of breaching Section 34 of Precca [Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act],” he said in a statement on Monday.

READ MORE: ‘No dirty dollars’ – Ramaphosa calls out DA for ‘jumping to conclusions’ about Phala Phala matter

Holomisa called on the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shamila Batohi to charge Ramaphosa based on the report’s findings.

“Given the seriousness of the matter and the NDPP’s failure to act thus far, she is given until 1 June 2023 to charge Mr Ramaphosa failing which the appropriate court will be approached on an urgent basis to compel her to do so.

“Given recent conduct on the part of the NPA in giving public support to Mr Ramaphosa as an accused person in criminal proceedings and its general record of lack of independence, the UDM will be consulting with its legal team even before the deadline,” he added.

Impeachment committee

Furthermore, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said in a statement on Tuesday that the report’s findings warranted a parliamentary inquiry to look into Ramaphosa’s conduct over Phala Phala.

“As it stands therefore, the report of the independent panel still stands, and it will remain an albatross around the president’s neck until Parliament exercises its constitutional powers by establishing the impeachment committee to hold Ramaphosa accountable,” the Red Berets said.

The EFF confirmed that it would write to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, asking her to reconsider the decision not to establish the impeachment committee.

RELATED: Malema accuses Mapisa-Nqakula of protecting Ramaphosa

“Failure by the Speaker to reconsider the need to table the report for a decision by Parliament against would constitute a serious abdication of duty by Parliament, and this decision would be reviewable in court.”

African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader Vuyo Zungula also said he believed that Ramaphosa deceived the ANC.

“Mr Ramaphosa misled his party so it doesn’t vote to have a parliamentary inquiry, citing taking the report on review. Now that they voted against the report, he is no longer challenging it. A person who doesn’t want to be held accountable has no place being a president of a country,” Zungula said in a tweet.

ATM appeal

Meanwhile, the ATM has approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) for leave to appeal a high court in its legal battle against Mapisa-Nqakula

The party filed in its papers this week, Mail & Guardian has reported

This comes after the Western Cape High Court dismissed the application to set aside Parliament’s decision not to proceed with impeachment proceedings against Ramaphosa last month.

The ATM had charged that the decision was invalid because the Speaker didn’t allow a secret ballot, but the full bench of the high court ruled that the argument was “unfounded”.

NOW READ: Phala Phala: ATM ‘threatens’ to take Public Protector report on review

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