SCOPA receives Ramaphosa’s written response on alleged misuse of public funds

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The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) says it has received President Cyril Ramaphosa’s written response in relation to the complaint laid against him. SCOPA says the President’s response will be tabled next week.

The committee wrote to Ramaphosa to share information about his knowledge of the alleged misuse of public funds for party political activities. The complainant is African National Congress (ANC) MP Mervyn Dirks who wrote to SCOPA and wanted Ramaphosa to appear before SCOPA.

This follows a leaked audio recording that relates to Ramaphosa’s utterances during an ANC NEC meeting. The audio recording has been circulating on social media.

On Friday Ramaphosa confirmed that he has signed SCOPA’s letter containing eight questions which he said he has responded to: “I signed the letter I don’t know where is it now I have signed it and it must be somewhere in the pipeline these things take a bit of time because there is a pipeline and there are things that need to happen”

Ramaphosa response: A foundation for further investigation

When SCOPA met on 25 January 2022 to discuss Dirk’s letter, Committee Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Ramaphosa’s written response will lay the foundation for the committee’s investigations into the allegations.

“Let us write to the President to solicit and establish facts and an explanation on this issues understanding that we reserve the right as a committee to invite him and at the same time inform the other affected parties of that explanation and a written response or statement or affidavit from the resident in this regard to reach us the latest Thursday and so give the President seven to ten days to respond to that. And that that response will lay the foundation on the nature and shape of our investigation into this matter”

President Ramaphosa responds to SCOPA’s report on the overuse of public funds:

Committee to discuss Ramaphosa response on Wednesday

Ramaphosa was subsequently given 10 working days to respond in writing. In a statement released on Friday, February 11, Hlengwa confirms that President Ramaphosa has met the 10 working days deadline given to him by the committee to submit his written response. Hlengwa says he has studied the contents of the President’s letter which has now been referred to Parliament’s Legal Advisers to give guidance on certain aspects of Ramaphosa’s response.

SCOPA says the President’s response and the legal advice will be tabled before the committee when it meets on Wednesday, February 16.

Dirks has since been placed on precautionary suspension by ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina for failing to withdraw his letter to SCOPA. He has been stripped of all his senior positions including his position as ANC Whip in SCOPA.

In the suspension letter dated 20 March 2022, Majodina says: “This further serves to notify you of the intention of the Office of the Chief Whip to place you on precautionary suspension with immediate effect in order for the necessary investigations to take place. During the period of suspension, the following will apply: You will be relieved of your duties as the Whip of the ANC SCOPA Study Group, and as the Questions Whip of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, Your membership of Strategy will be suspended, Your membership of SCOPA will be withdrawn, You will be removed from Caucus WhatsApp groups, You are specifically prohibited from engaging on any media platform in any way whatsoever regarding this matter. Further details will be provided to you within the next seven working days in order for you to prepare appropriately for the contemplated proceedings.”

And while the ‘Public Money Watchdog’ is expected to discuss Ramaphosa’s response, SCOPA also indicated that it still reserved its right to call the President to appear before the committee if necessary.

SCOPA to request president Ramaphosa to shed light on the misuse of state funds: Prof. Lesiba Teffo