Home corruption Parties demand release of report on Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm saga

Parties demand release of report on Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm saga

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Under the hashtag #ReleasePhalaPhalaReport, a picket will start at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria and move to the Public Protector’s offices.

Themba Godi. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Tshwarelo Hunter Mogakane

FORMER Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) boss Themba Godi and members of his African People’s Convention (APC) will join political parties represented in Parliament in a demonstration to force Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka to release her report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm saga.

Although Godi’s party no longer enjoys a seat in Parliament, he accepted an invitation from the eight parliamentary parties that want to see Ramaphosa being held accountable.

Under the hashtag #ReleasePhalaPhalaReport, the picket will start at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on Friday and move to the Public Protector’s offices at 175 Lunnon Street, Hillcrest Office Park.

“The APC believes that public pressure is necessary to ensure transparency and accountability for the Phala Phala malfeasance.

“It is clear that President Cyril Ramaphosa has been caught with his pants down and cannot voluntarily account and be transparent on this matter,” said Godi.

Godi said they were joining the picket because it was no longer easy to trust institutions that are constitutionally mandated to hold the executive accountable.

“The acting Public Protector has not covered herself in glory since she took office from advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. The picket on Friday will be a challenge to Gcaleka to disprove public cynicism that she has been planted in that office to serve Ramaphosa’s interests.

“Ngcaleka’s conduct and utterances have not inspired confidence. The steady and assuring presence of Mkhwebane is sorely missed in that office.

“State organs investigating the Phala Phala matter have been tardy, dodgy, and do not seem to treat the matter with the seriousness and urgency that, we believe, it deserves.

“Our country deserves better. President Ramaphosa and his colleagues in government have failed to address the poverty, unemployment and inequality inherited from the era of white domination.

“Through his hatchet man, Pravin Gordhan, they have destroyed and sold SAA, subjected the country to load shedding while engaging in a fool’s errand about renewables, dismembered and privatised Eskom, sold off Transnet, Durban port and tolerated corruption within their ranks.

“The Phala Phala scandal, thus, adds salt to injury. Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.

Godi also lambasted some journalists who seem hellbent on shielding Ramaphosa from accountability at the expense of the working-class and poor South Africans.

“Ever since he assumed office, Ramaphosa has been protected by a section of the media, and now state organs are aligning themselves to be part of his defence at the expense of the law, justice and public interests.

“State institutions must not be used to defend the rich and powerful, including Ramaphosa.

“Who is going to bear the brunt? It is the working class and the poor masses of South Africa who remain excluded from the gains of democracy,” Godi said.

The eight political parties, including the EFF, UDM, ATM, ACDP, PAC, and others, met on August 31 to plan the picket after agreeing that Gcaleka was dilly-dallying on releasing the report.

During the EFF Provincial People’s Assembly in Klerksdorp, North West, at the weekend, party leader Julius Malema told his supporters: “We cannot have someone who is above the law. There is nothing special with Ramaphosa.

“He must be treated the same as everybody else in South Africa. The Public Protector refuses to release her report. The law says on matters of that nature on the president, the Public Protector must investigate and within 30 days must release her report.

“She comes back after 30 days and says, ‘I’m not ready with the report.’ The law doesn’t say that after 30 days, she must tell us the state of readiness. Today, we are more than 80 days without a report from the Public Protector. All institutions of the state have been collapsed to protect one man,” said Malema.

Gcaleka took over the 31 questions that were sent to Ramaphosa by Mkhwebane a day before she was suspended.

The questions stemmed from a request from the ATM, which asked the Public Protector to investigate whether Ramaphosa had not broken any laws after money kept at his house was stolen in a 2020 burglary that has attracted controversy.

The ATM acted on a criminal case that was lodged by former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser back in April.

Fraser alleged that Ramaphosa had possibly concealed a burglary involving $4 million that took place at his Phala Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo.

Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe did not respond to questions sent to him on Tuesday.

Gauteng provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili did not respond to questions on police readiness to manage the picket on Friday.

Pretoria News

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