The Constitutional Court has rejected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to challenge the Section 89 independent panel report into Phala-Phala saying no case has been made for exclusive jurisdiction or direct access.
The president launched a review of the independent probe led by former Chief Justice, Sandile Ngcobo, which found that he may have a prima facie case to answer on the theft of money at his Limpopo farm in 2020.
Parliament did not adopt the report, however, investigations into the matter by the Hawks and the Public Protector are yet to reach a conclusion.
President Ramaphosa had argued that the Section 89 Independent Panel report was seriously flawed. In papers filed at the Constitutional Court in December, the president said the panel, led by former Chief Justice, Sandile Ngcobo, had misconceived its mandate, misjudged the information placed before it and misinterpreted the four charges made against him.
Sandile Ngcobo, Thokozile Masipa and Mahlepe Sello, including Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and African Transformation Movement leader Vuyolwethu Zungula formed the panel.
Ramaphosa had asked the court to review and set aside the report.
Ramaphosa had argued that the panel ought to have determined whether sufficient evidence existed to warrant an impeachment process, further arguing that the panel had overlooked the fact that serious misconduct and a serious violation of the Constitution of the law were confined, by the rules of the National Assembly, to deliberate misconduct by the president acting in bad faith.
Phala Phala scandal continues to hang over Ramaphosa:
Last month, the Public Protector’s office said that its Phala-Phala investigative team had obtained, reviewed, and validated all information and evidence prior to finalising its preliminary report.
The pending report at this stage is not open to the public.
Acting spokesperson for the Public Protector Ndili Msoki said at the time, “Once the process, post-issuance of the preliminary report is concluded, including quality assurance, the final report will be published in terms of section 8(1) of the Public Protector Act read with section 182(1)(b) of the Constitution.”
“We wish to further emphasise our duty as described in the 2018 Absa vs Public Protector judgment, which among other things held that the doctrine of legality is one of the constitutional controls through which the Constitution regulates the exercise of public power. Therefore, when making a decision, the Public Protector’s decision must be lawful, reasonable, and procedurally fair,” adds Msoki.
On November 30, 2022, the independent panel probing whether President Cyril Ramaphosa has a case to answer for the theft of foreign currency from his Phala Phala farm in 2020 handed over their report to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: