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Phala Phala Scandal: Opposition demands NPA to launch actions against President Ramaphosa

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Opposition party On Tuesday asked the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to go after President Cyril Ramaphosa in connection with the Phala Phala scandal.

On Monday, the presidency stated that the Ramaphosa will not be allowed to question the validity and legality of the scandal.

The panel, chaired by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, determined that the president may be held accountable for the theft of foreign cash from his Limpopo property in 2020.

However, the African National Congress (ANC) utilized its parliamentary majority to vote against the report’s acceptance in December of last year.

Just over two months ago, the ruling party voted against the formation of an ad hoc committee to probe Phala Phala.

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) rejected to hear Ramaphosa’s review application, instead referring the president to a lower court.

The president was then informed that there was no reason to pursue the legal challenge in a higher court because the subject was now obsolete.

According to the Presidency, Ramaphosa may still go to court if necessary.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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

— Vuyo Zungula MP (@ZungulaVuyo) May 22, 2023

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”.

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