Wednesday, June 12, 2024

South Africa: Phala Phala Scandal Destined for Court

The fight for a public hearing into how $580,000 ended up in the coach of President Cyril Ramaphosa is now destined to end up in court.

Opposition parties have rejected Acting Public Protector Advocate Koleka Gcaleka’s ruling that clears Ramaphosa of any wrongdoing in the theft of foreign currency at his Phala Phala Farm in 2020.

Ramaphosa was accused of violating the Executive Members Ethics Act and abusing the power of his office to investigate the robbery.

Former spy boss Arthur Fraser reported the robbery cover-up and claimed Ramaphosa was directly involved in the cover-up and used state resources to investigate a private matter.

But advocate Gcaleka said Fraser’s evidence was based on hearsay, lacked collaboration and was contradicted by information by the public protector’s investigators.

“The investigators went and did an inspection in loco in Phala Phala and found that the videos and pictures that were purported to be the Phala Phala house of the president were in fact not that of the president but of the neighbouring farms.”

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson said the president had always maintained he had not abused the power of his office.

“The President has always maintained that he was not a party to any wrongdoing or violation of his oath of office,” said Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya.

The Democratic Alliance, the ATM and the EFF have rejected the public protector’s report saying they will be challenging the report in court.

“The Democratic Alliance will be consulting with our lawyers to take this report on review as we believe it contains a number of misinterpretations of the relevant pieces of legislation and presents a worrying lack of evidence that the Office of the Public Protector itself has seemingly failed to source,” the party said in a statement.

The EFF described the acting public protectors as an “imposter and hired gun” who sought to absolve Ramaphosa of any wrongdoing in the Phala Phala scandal.


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