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By Lunga Simelane

Journalist


Ramaphosa’s resignation would open the door for ‘the nastiest, most craven criminals’

'Are you ready for President David Mabuza?'


If President Cyril Ramaphosa does not resign as his day grows dark, he may undergo the humiliating process of having his life flayed open in an impeachment process following the release of the Section 89 Panel's report which he may have committed serious violtions of his office. However, there may be a lifeline for him yet, according to constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos. This video is no longer available. Could Ramaphosa challenge in court? According to De Vos, while it was unknown what the president would do, every report was taken under review in courts and in this case,…

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If President Cyril Ramaphosa does not resign as his day grows dark, he may undergo the humiliating process of having his life flayed open in an impeachment process following the release of the Section 89 Panel’s report which he may have committed serious violtions of his office.

However, there may be a lifeline for him yet, according to constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos.

This video is no longer available.

Could Ramaphosa challenge in court?

According to De Vos, while it was unknown what the president would do, every report was taken under review in courts and in this case, there might be arguably the grounds for review and how strong there were but there was a possibility Ramaphosa would challenge this in court.

De Vos said in terms of the requirements of an impeachment of a president, there needed to be a serious violation of the constitution of the law or serious misconduct.

ALSO READ: Phala Phala findings ‘an immediate crisis’ for Ramaphosa’s political career

Deliberately and maliciously

“It should be more than just the president breaking the law or constitution but it should be done in bad faith deliberately and maliciously,” he said.

De Vos said the independent panel made an assessment on two versions presented and on many issues it seemed the president’s version was less persuasive than the other.

“It did not investigate but considered the evidence from the members who presented the impeachment motion put before it, the evidence the president puts before it and any other evidence members of the National Assembly put before it,” he said.

“It is a tricky and serious finding especially the political impact of it. It is not something that will assist law enforcement agency when investigating this because it is a limited finding with potentially huge impact.”

DA weighs in

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the report was clear and unambiguous.

“President Ramaphosa most likely did breach a number of Constitutional provisions and has a case to answer. Impeachment proceedings into his conduct must go ahead, and he will have to offer far better, more comprehensive explanations than we have been given so far,” Steenhuisen said.

“The authors of the report clearly do not believe President Ramaphosa’s explanation about the source of the hidden money was truthful, and they clearly believe that the President interfered with the investigation to keep it quiet.”

National Assembly to deliberate

The National Assembly was set to consider and deliberate on the Phala Phala report next Tuesday, De Vos noted the independent panel was different from an ad hoc inquiry.

“It then makes an assessment and see if there is evidence that would warrant an ad hoc committee of the national assembly to consider impeachment,” he said.

“The national assembly is not bound by the panel recommendations so it can decide next week not to continue with the ad hoc committee to investigate fully, or it can decide right at the end of the process not to support the impeachment motion. Those are more political kind of decisions which would depend how the ANC decides.”

De Vos said the report did not always engage with the impeachment requirement and on some issues -the evidence the panel had did not seem to rise to a level of serious violation of serious misconduct.

“But the essence of the findings- the money probably did not come from someone who bought Buffalos but from some other probably unlawful source and the president may have tried to keep the matter a secret and may have used his power as president to acquire the Namibian government to assist him on keeping it quiet,” he said

“If those things are true, they would clearly be serious violations of the constitution of the law or serious misconduct.”

Criminals

A political Academy Southern Africa CEO Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Twitter, if Ramaphosa resigned, it would open the door for the “nastiest, most craven and unrepentant criminals in the ANC to start feasting again”.

“Are you ready for President David Mabuza?” she asked.

“We will not have an early election and whoever is calling for one is just looking for an ‘angle’ into the story. The ANC will simply hold onto power and shuffle the leadership deck.”

ANC lacks adequate leadership

“The ANC leadership deck is empty. Credible leaders such as Naledi Pandor or Ronald Lamola lack the time to build the groundswell for a win with literal days to go before conference. I would welcome another Motlanthe caretaker presidency but it’s a temporary solution at best.”

Meanwhile, this would not be the first time an impeachment of a president in post democratic South Africa would be considered as Ramaphosa’s predecessor, former president Jacob Zuma survived an impeachment vote in 2017 over the illegal use of public money to renovate his private residence.

However, the difference in the process, it was the first time since parliament adopted rules to guide the process for the impeachment of a president in 2018, following a Constitutional Court judgment.

NOW READ: Ramaphosa will make decision that is best for South Africa – Presidency

– lungas@citizen.co.za

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