ConCourt ruling confirms need for Phala Phala ad hoc committee - John Steenhuisen

DA leader says only the National Assembly can fully investigate the matter

ConCourt judgement against Ramaphosa confirms need for Phala Phala ad hoc committee

01 March 2023

This morning, the Constitutional Court – in a unanimous judgement – dismissed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s application for direct access to the Constitutional Court to overturn the Section 89 panel’s report on the Phala Phala scandal.

The report had concluded that there exists prima facie evidence that Ramaphosa may have committed a serious violation of the Constitution by committing a range of crimes as well as serious misconduct inconsistent with his oath of office over the alleged coverup of the theft of millions of Rands hidden in a sofa on his game farm. In its judgement, the Constitutional Court held that “no case has been made out for exclusive jurisdiction or direct access and the main application must be dismissed.”

What this judgement confirms is what the DA has been saying from the start, which is that this matter can only be fully investigated, to the necessary extent, by the National Assembly in the form of an ad hoc committee in accordance with Rule 253.

The DA will once again table a motion with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to establish an ad hoc committee on the Phala Phala scandal to bring this matter to the constitutional body empowered to deal with it – the National Assembly.

As we have previously argued, the Phala Phala scandal does not begin and end with the President, and as such, it necessitates an ad hoc committee that will have the full powers to summon and investigate Cabinet Ministers, law enforcement bodies, and other state institutions allegedly involved in this cover up.

An ad hoc committee is the route that Parliament should have followed when this scandal first broke. And the first witness that must be called by this committee, is Cyril Ramaphosa himself. It is highly irresponsible conduct by the President to bat the Phala Phala scandal between Parliament and the courts all in an attempt to evade difficult questions and full transparency and accountability.

Ramaphosa had launched this court application to set aside the Section 89 report in a desperate attempt to save his political skin. Now that this attempt has been unanimously dismissed by the highest court in the land, it is time for the President to finally tell the full truth about Phala Phala.

Instead of employing the Stalingrad tactics made famous by his predecessor, through launching yet another application in a different court, President Ramaphosa needs to take the country into his confidence about what truly transpired at Phala Phala in Parliament, the body to which he is constitutionally obligated to account.

Statement issued by DA leader, John Steenhuisen, 1 March 2023