The African Transformation Movement (ATM) says it has submitted supplementary charges against President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, for the attention of the Independent Panel that has been appointed to look into the robbery that took place at his Phala Phala farm in February 2020.
ALSO READ: Even Zuma wouldn’t do what Ramaphosa did with Phala Phala ‘tsotsis’, says Malema
- Advertisement -
In a statement on Thursday, the party said it had added a fifth charge of a serious violation of the law, where it accuses Ramaphosa of violating his oath of office by violating section 83(b) of the constitution which requires him to uphold, defend and respect the constitution as the supreme law of the republic, read with Foreign Currency Exchange laws, which require him to inform the SARB when bringing in foreign currency into the country.
The robbery at Ramaphosa’s farm came into the spotlight after former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid a criminal complaint against him in June of money laundering, kidnapping and corruption.
Fraser alleged that the president was involved in an elaborate cover-up of the crime after criminals – allegedly working in cahoots with his domestic worker – broke into his property and stole millions of US dollars in cash.
ALSO READ: Phala Phala: Ramaphosa only reported money was stolen a month later – report
He further claimed that the suspects were subsequently kidnapped, interrogated and bribed to keep quiet.
While Ramaphosa said he would cooperate with investigations, he denied any criminality on his part and maintained that the crime was reported to the Presidential Protection Unit.
Independent panel on Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm
The ATM’s supplementary charges come exactly a week after Mapisa-Nqakula appointed an independent panel to conduct a preliminary assessment of the party’s Section 89 motion against Ramaphosa.
Former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, former High Court judge Thokozile Masipa and Associate Professor of Public Law at UCT Richard Calland will form the independent panel.
Section 89 of the Constitution provides for the National Assembly to remove a president of the Republic from office on the grounds of either, serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct or an inability to perform the functions of office, while Rule 129A-Q governs the process of the removal of the president.
The panel will commence its work on a date to be determined and announced once all administrative processes have been concluded.
But this could take longer than expected as the DA and the EFF have reportedly written to Mapisa-Nqakula raising concerns about the appointment of Calland to the panel.
According to Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula referred the matter to parliament’s legal services. A pronouncement will be made on Friday.
Ramaphosa vs Mkhwebane
The ATM added a sixth charge against Ramaphosa, accusing him of violating his oath of office by violating the same section of the constitution by suspending Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
“ATM contends that he was triggered by the 31 questions relating to the Phala Phala farm scandal. Ramaphosa had known for months about the pending suspension and he did not act,” alleged the party.
The Western Cape High Court earlier this month ruled that Ramaphosa’s decision to suspend Mkhwebane was invalid.
In its ruling, the court said in part: “The decision of [Mkhwebane] to investigate the president and to put 31 questions to him, prompted the president not to wait a day more and to immediately suspend her.”
“Clearly, when the events that unfolded between the 7-10 June 2022 are objectively examined, it is irresistible to conclude that the decision of the president was improper.”
In response, Ramaphosa said he would seek guidance from the constitution.
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde