Section 89 independent panel to hand over Phala Phala report on Wednesday

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The Section 89 Independent Panel of Experts will hand over its report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s alleged conduct to the Speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday morning.

The three-member panel led by retired Chief Justice, Sandile Ngcobo has been assessing whether Ramaphosa has a case to answer on constitutional grounds for the alleged theft of foreign currency at his Phala Phala farm nearly three years ago.

The panel was granted a 13-day extension to conclude its work by November the 30th.

The panel’s main task was to evaluate a draft motion by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) calling for Ramaphosa’s removal from office under Section 89 of the Constitution for allegedly violating his oath of office. The party alleged that Ramaphosa concealed the theft of US dollars which were kept on his farm.

A Section 89 panel is established in terms of Rule 129 of the National Assembly Rules. The Rule outlines all the processes to be followed if a President faces a motion tabled by a member of the National Assembly in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution. It was developed following a successful Constitutional Court challenge by the EFF versus former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete in December 2017.

The new Rule was approved by the Assembly in November 2018. During the debate,  Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi predicted that the first President the rule must be tested on should be President Ramaphosa. However, Ndlozi was ruled out of order and kicked out of the Chamber by House Chairperson Mmatlala Boroto.

AUDIO: EFF’s Ndlozi kicked out of the Chamber during debate: 

And four years later, the Rule is being tested on the President after the ATM leader, Vuyo Zungula invoked Rule 129 (A) and Section 89 of the Constitution calling for his removal from office.

Ramaphosa was asked to submit his responses to the information submitted by the ATM, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and United Democratic Movement (UDM) over the Phala Phala matter. He met the ten-day deadline of submitting his responses to the panel on the 6th of November. Presidential Spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed this a day after the deadline on the 7th of November.

“President Ramaphosa has always made certain that throughout his tenure as President, to abide by his oath of office and set an example in his respect for the Constitution, its institutions, due process and the rule of law. President Ramaphosa categorically denies that he violated this oath in any way, and denies that he is guilty of any of the allegations made against him,” says Magwenya.

The ATM says it’s looking forward to the panel’s report.

“And we believe that there will be no further request for extensions as we said before. We are even happier that the Speaker has set a date for the House to look at the matter and debate it.  So, with the 30th of November coming up this week, we are strongly confident that the panel has done its job and they will not be asking for any further extension. This matter will be discussed and be given a clear way forward by the house of Parliament obviously after taking into consideration the recommendation of the panel, and we believe that all this will be done before the end of term of this Parliament. So, we are looking forward as the ATM to what the panel will submit to the Office of the Speaker and be shared to all political parties in the National Assembly,” ATM National Spokesperson Sibusiso Mncwabe says.

Justice Ngcobo will officially hand over the panel’s report to the National Assembly Speaker on Wednesday morning.

VIDEO: Experts to submit the Phala Phala saga report to Parliament on Wednesday