Ahead of a Parliamentary vote and amidst ANC deliberations, President Cyril Ramaphosa has decided to challenge the Phala Phala report in the highest court of the land.
“We received instructions some days ago from the president to take the panel’s report and recommendations contained therein on review to the Constitutional Court,” Ramaphosa’s attorney Peter Harris told News24, adding that “papers will be filed shortly”.
This comes ahead of a Parliamentary vote on whether Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry over prima facie findings of the section 89 panel headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo,
The panel was unconvinced by Ramaphosa’s account of the theft of some US$580 000 (R9.9 million) from a sofa in a room on his Phala Phala farm in February 2020. It rejected Ramaphosa’s earlier claim the money was from a buffalo sale.
“The Committee is going to be careful about making very consequential findings. It will be interesting how they understand the various elements of Phala Phala,” said Ongama Mtimka. He is a lecturer in the department of history and political studies at Nelson Mandela University.
Mtimka said it would be “interesting” to watch how the judges view the alleged violations.
About the stash of foreign currency, Mtimka said: “They may not absolve it completely and may say that he does have a case to answer. Whether that case is serious, is going to be interesting and whether the committee is going to draw itself into whether there’s a legal case to be answered.”
He said there might be reasonable doubt as to whether Ramaphosa himself was involved in the alleged cover up of crime on the Limpopo farm.
ANC 55th conference
The drama unfolds ahead of the party’s 55th national elective conference, where thousands of delegates are set to elect new leadership. Earlier reports suggested Ramaphosa was ready to withdraw from the race against disgraced former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
However, it is understood that senior party officials and allies convinced Ramaphosa not to step down. The party had to consider its performance in the 2024 election without Ramaphosa.
His main political rivals, Paul Mashatile and Zweli Mkhize, are expected to push back against calls for his removal during an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Monday.
Speaking at Nasrec on Monday, whether members of the NEC were locked in a meeting, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party was strong enough to weather the storm.
“We are aware that since the release of the section 89 report on Phala Phala, there have been great public interests in the future of the president and the ANC,” said Mabe.
He added that “we can assure you that the ANC is capable of managing this; we have done so in the past.”