PP has whitewashed Phala Phala scandal – John Steenhuisen

DA leader says report can only be described as a pro-Ramaphosa PR exercise

The Public Protector has whitewashed Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala scandal

30 June 2023

Acting Public Protector, Adv Koleka Gcaleka’s report on allegations of a violation of the Executive Members Ethics Act by President Cyril Ramaphosa pertaining to a theft at his farm at Phala Phala delivered earlier today, was nothing more than a whitewash of the entire sordid Phala Phala scandal.

Given that Adv Gcaleka is vying for the top job within the Office of the Public Protector, her report today read more like a job interview than a concluded investigation.

By burying the merits of this investigation in legal jargon and semantics, and contorting the law in her interpretation of both the Executive Members Ethics Act and the Constitution, she has attempted to paint President Cyril Ramaphosa as nothing more than an innocent bystander to the Phala Phala scandal, oblivious to the workings of the Presidential Protection Services, his responsibilities as the head of South Africa’s national executive, and his duty as the first citizen of the nation.

This report could only be described as a pro-Ramaphosa public relations exercise.

The Democratic Alliance will be consulting with our lawyers to take this report on review as we believe it contains a number of misinterpretations of the relevant pieces of legislation, and presents a worrying lack of evidence that the Office of the Public Protector itself has seemingly failed to source.

In doing so, Adv Gcaleka has muddied the waters of a matter to which South Africans still do not have any clear answers.

It is also gravely concerning to note the discrepancies between the Nkandla Report, whose interpretation of similar laws found that former President Jacob Zuma was severely compromised as President of the Republic, yet Cyril Ramaphosa is seemingly assessed by different standards.

We will be asking our lawyers to consult the Nkandla Report for any potential legal precedent that can be used to point out the discrepancies in Adv Gcaleka’s findings.

Most worrying in this flawed report is the insidious weakening of South Africa’s institutions as the very last bastions of accountability in our young democracy.

Should the Office of the Public Protector indeed be captured, the DA will work tirelessly to ensure that our democratic institutions are rid of any political influence to ensure that the principles of accountability and equality before the law are always upheld.

Our country’s future depends on them.

Issued by John Steenhuisen, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 30 June 2023