Ramaphosa’s deadline to respond to MPs regarding Phala Phala looms

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has exactly two days left to respond to the information that some National Assembly members have submitted to the Section 89 Independent Panel of Experts.

Ramaphosa was given ten days within which to respond to any of the submitted information from 28 October to 06 November.

The Presidency earlier confirmed that the submissions were received and the president will respond as per the deadline.

O’Sullivan allegations

One of the submissions he has to respond to relates to the allegation that Forensic Consultant, Paul O’Sullivan, used his private investigation company to assist Ramaphosa to trace the persons who allegedly stole millions of US dollars from the President’s Phala Phala farm more than two years ago.

The allegation against O’Sullivan is made by former State Security Agency director-general, Arthur Fraser.

It is contained in Fraser’s supplementary complaint to the Hawks; a copy of which United Democratic Movement (UDM) Leader, Bantu Holomisa, has submitted to the panel.

“I’m not going to have people, whether they’re criminals or journalists, trying to implicate me…”

O’Sullivan slammed claims made by Fraser in an interview with SABC News Anchor Sakina Kamwendo on Morning Live recently.

However, O’Sullivan also ended up dropping the call at the end during follow-up questions by Kamwendo.

Below is the interview with Kamwendo and O’Sullivan:

Ramaphosa to shed light on O’Sullivan’s alleged Phala Phala involvement

When President Ramaphosa responds to all the submissions made by Sunday, he is also expected to give the panel an indication of whether O’Sullivan assisted him or not, as claimed by Fraser.

The three-member panel led by retired Chief Justice, Sandile Ngcobo, is tasked to assess an African Transformation Movement (ATM) draft motion on whether the President has a case to answer on constitutional grounds over the Phala Phala farm scandal.

ATM Leader Vuyo Zungula invoked Section 89 of the Constitution and National Assembly Rule 129 (A) when he tabled the draft motion calling for Ramaphosa’s removal from office.

A panel of experts that are appointed exists for a certain period in terms of National Assembly Rule 129 (C).

The entire Rule 129 determines the process that should be followed whenever a substantive draft motion is brought by a member of the National Assembly to remove a president from office in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution.

Such a motion should be accompanied by prima facie evidence submitted by the MP and has to be approved by the National Assembly Speaker before other processes unfold.

The processes include the selection, appointment of a panel, timeframes to conduct the investigation, and a report back to the Speaker.

Possible violation of the law, serious misconduct

In terms of Section 89 (1) (a)(b) (c) of the Constitution, the National Assembly, by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of at least two-thirds of its members, may remove the president from office only on the grounds of a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct or inability to perform the functions of the office.

This means at least 266 to 267 of the 400 members of the Assembly will have to vote in favour of the motion to remove a president from office under Section 89.

Section 89 (2) further states that anyone who has been removed from the office of the president for violating the Constitution or the law, or for serious misconduct, may not receive benefits and may not serve in any public office.

The ATM brought charges of serious violation of the law and serious misconduct against the Ramaphosa in its draft motion.

In one of the charges, the ATM alleges that Ramaphosa violated the law by getting paid work to the extent that he even identified some of his customers at an African National Congress (ANC) conference in Limpopo in June this year, when the Constitution prohibits him from engaging in other paid work.

Section 89 Independent Panel Assessment starts from 7 to 17 November

The panel’s next step will be to assess all the information that has been submitted, including President Ramaphosa’s responses to the submissions.

In terms of its time frame, the panel’s ten-day assessment is expected to start from Monday 7 to 17 November 2022.

In its assessment, the panel will consider all information.

It says it will also conduct any additional research required, deliberate on the facts, write, and finalise its report.

The report will be submitted to the Speaker within 30 days.

The panel report will determine if there is prima facie evidence for Ramaphosa to face a Section 89 Inquiry or not.