The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it has received a formal response from President Cyril Ramaphosa to its parliamentary question about the origin and status of a leaked top secret government document that it says makes disturbing constitutional proposals.

The party revealed the document in July which proposes the establishment of permanent Command Council with executive powers.

It allegedly appears on the letterhead of Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and is marked “top secret.” It is also alleged that it is proposed under the guise of the District Development Model, a local government policy initiative that predates COVID-19.

In his response, the DA says President Ramaphosa avoids reference to the top secret document and therefore failed to answer questions on whether he has seen the document, whether it comes from a source from government and whether he agrees with the proposal.

The DA does not believe that the President’s reply meets the standards set by the Rules of the National Assembly and will be writing to the Speaker Thandi Modise to request her to order the President to render a substantive reply.

“The unknown author describes the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as “exemplary” and suggests that all this creates a chance for centralising power in the hands of the national government,” the DA said in a statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 20:00 on Saturday on developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19.