Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

ConCourt ruling on Phala Phala report ‘not a blow’ for Ramaphosa – Presidency

Magwenya says the ConCourt's decision to dismiss the president's petition was merely a procedural matter.

The Presidency has defended President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to petition the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in a bid to review the adverse findings made against him in the Section 89 Phala Phala report.

Phala Phala panel report

The ConCourt on Wednesday dismissed the president’s application for direct access in order to challenge the findings of the report, which found that Ramaphosa may have a case to answer over the theft of foreign currency at his Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo in 2020.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa’s bid to challenge Phala Phala report at ConCourt dismissed

The apex court ruled that “no case has been made out for exclusive jurisdiction or direct access”. This means Ramaphosa will have to approach the high court to challenge the report’s scathing findings against him.

Briefing the media in Tshwane on the president’s public programme, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the president was correct to petition the ConCourt instead of a lower court.

“Our view is that he was correct in doing so because the matter concerned a report that was seized with the conduct of the president. Our view is that the ConCourt was the right court to hear the matter,” said Magwenya.

Procedural matter

He said the ConCourt’s decision to dismiss the petition was merely a procedural matter because it did not deal with the merits of Ramaphosa’s case.

“That judgment deals with what I would call a procedural matter with respect to the president seeking direct access to the Constitutional Court. That judgment does not pronounce on the merits of the case.

“It just says there’s no case for the ConCourt to be petitioned directly.”

Magwenya said the ConCourt’s ruling on the matter could, therefore, not be considered to be a blow for Ramaphosa. He said Ramaphosa’s legal team will explore its options on how to proceed with the review application.

“It’s not a blow to the president. What will happen now is that the legal team will convene and map the way forward, and consider the options going forward.

“It’s not necessarily a blow and not a judgment on the substance and merits of the case; it’s just a procedural issue,” he said.

RELATED: Public Protector says it has completed Phala Phala investigation

Magwenya also dismissed suggestions that Ramaphosa’s decision to take the report on review was the same as taking Parliament to court.

He said the president approached the ConCourt to get clarity on the panel’s “flawed” findings.

“The assertion around taking Parliament to court was a political suggestion by some, which has no merit whatsoever.”

Section 89 panel

Last year, an independent three-member panel- headed by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo – was appointed by National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to determine whether Ramaphosa had a case to answer over the robbery at his Phala Phala game farm.

The panel’s report found that Ramaphosa may have a case to answer and recommended that he should face a parliamentary impeachment process over allegations of money laundering, kidnapping, and corruption related to the robbery.

On 13 December 2022, the report was overwhelmingly rejected by a majority of African National Congress (ANC) MPs, who voted against its adoption.

This paved the way for Ramaphosa to be elected for a second term as the ANC’s president at the governing party’s 55th national conference in December.

NOW READ: Phala Phala secret ballot: ANC lawyer says there’s no evidence ANC MPs were bribed or influenced

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