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Gungubele calls on South Africans to give Ramaphosa space to study Phala Phala report

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele has appealed to the public to give President Cyril Ramaphosa space while he studies the report of the independent panel into the Phala Phala scandal.

Phala Phala panel report

An independent panel of experts appointed by National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, released its damning report on Wednesday into the theft of foreign currency at Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo two years ago.

The three-member panel, headed by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, found that Ramaphosa may have a case to answer over claims of money laundering, kidnapping and corruption related to the 2020 robbery.

ALSO READ: Independent panel finds Ramaphosa has a case to answer on Phala Phala

The panel also found that Ramaphosa exposed himself to a situation involving a conflict between his official responsibilities and his private business.

While the president has denied any wrongdoing, if a majority of MPs in the National Assembly vote in favour of adopting the report’s findings next Tuesday – Ramaphosa could be the first president in South Africa’s democratic history to face an impeachment inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

‘Ramaphosa is studying the findings’

Addressing the media on Thursday, during a post-Cabinet briefing in Pretoria, Gungubele called on South Africans to give the president time to study and consider the Section 89 panel’s findings.

He said once Ramaphosa is done going through the report, he would make an announcement in due course on what he intends to do.

“Our attitude is that we should respect that exercise. These are not statements or findings where you can easily wake up and say ‘this is what I think’…

“The president is studying the findings and he will make an announcement in due course. We strongly call on South Africans for the indulgence to actually await that,” said Gungubele.

RELATED: Dlamini-Zuma calls for Ramaphosa to step aside over damning Phala Phala report

‘Law-abiding citizen’

The minister, who is known to be a close ally of the president, said Ramaphosa had always been a law-abiding citizen.

He said Ramaphosa had never broken any laws of the country and “he has demonstrated [this] all his life”.

“Up to this point, the president has respected the laws of this country. The president subjected himself to this process [the Section 89 independent panel].

“We have not seen anything untoward as far as the laws of the country are concerned,” said Gungubele.

Gungubele added that the preliminary evidence found by the panel did not mean that Ramaphosa was found guilty of any wrongdoing.

“Prima facie evidence says at face value, ‘it appears this has not gone right’ [and] maybe an elaborate exercise to check further could lead to something.

“So, prima facie evidence is not a conclusive finding on anything, but it’s an indication that there is a need to clarify certain things.”

Cancelled engagements

Meanwhile, the Presidency cancelled two engagements involving the president on Thursday.

Ramaphosa was expected to appear before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to answer MPs’ questions, but this will no longer be taking place.

The media briefing by the Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya into Ramaphosa’s public programme for the week ahead was also cancelled at the last minute.

The ANC’s highest decision-making body in between conferences – the national executive committee (NEC) – is expected to meet on Thursday evening for a special meeting to deliberate on the Phala Phala panel report.

NOW READ: Phala Phala findings ‘an immediate crisis’ for Ramaphosa’s political career

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Ramaphosa’s fate to be discussed at ANC NEC meeting on Thursday night

The ANC has confirmed that a special meeting is expected to take place on Thursday night, following the Phala Phala panel report released on Wednesday.

The Section 89 panel found that President Cyril Ramaphosa has a case to answer in connection with the burglary that took place on his Phala Phala game farm in February 2020.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa NCOP Q&A postponed to sift through Phala Phala report

Stepping aside?

The report by the Section 89 panel is expected to be the top agenda of the national executive committee (NEC) meeting.

Parliamentary counsellor to the president, Gerhard Koornhof, said in a statement on Thursday morning that the report “has been unprecedented in the life of our constitutional democracy”.

Ramaphosa’s detractors are expected to ask him to step aside and his deputy, David Mabuza, has been touted as acting president.

An ANC NEC insider told The Citizen the special NEC meeting would take place around 7pm.

“The notice says we will be served with the agenda later on,” said the insider.

ALSO READ: Phala Phala findings place Ramaphosa’s political career and future into ‘an immediate crisis’

Asked if Deputy President David Mabuza would serve as acting president if Ramaphosa was forced to step aside on Thursday night, the NEC member said they would prefer not to comment.

“What I am picking up is what I saw on TV; I do not want to be opportunistic and respond. I do not know anything, but I am looking forward to going to the NEC.”

Mabuza’s media liaison officer Matshepo Seedat dismissed any claims that Mabuza would take over from Ramaphosa if he was to be forced to step aside.

“I do not know anything of that sort; we do not comment about rumours,” said Seedat.

Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, and ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe, could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

ALSO READ: EFF: Ramaphosa forfeited right to be president when he conducted business like ‘the mafia’

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Multinational ABB to pay R2.5bn to SA for dodgy Eskom Kusile deal

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Investigative Directorate (ID) said multinational company ASEA Brown Boveri (ABB) has agreed to pay R2,5 billion in punitive reparations to South Africa for a dodgy Eskom deal.

The ID said the payment forms parts of its ongoing criminal investigation into “serious crimes” committed at the state-owned entity during the State Capture-era.

Accountability

It said the punitive amount is in addition to the R1.6 billion that ABB paid to Eskom in 2020.

NPA spokesperson Adv Mthunzi Mhaga said the settlement by the multinational technology group with a large South African footprint represents a bold and innovative step towards accountability and justice for alleged offenders.

“The Investigating Directorate has entered into a settlement agreement with ABB Limited in respect of corruption and fraud that was committed at Eskom during the state capture period.”

ALSO READ: Eskom power stations a hunting ground for criminals

Money

Mhaga said the money will be paid into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account (CARA).

“As part of this agreement, they will be cooperating with the Investigating Directorate by providing evidence that will assist in prosecuting and investigating those employees and directors of the company that are implicated in corruption and state capture.”

He said ABB was awarded a controversial R2 billion contract in 2015 to install control and instrumentation systems at Kusile Power Station.

“And as part of the agreement, the company will continue to complete its work at no cost to Eskom or government,” Mhaga said.

Mhaga said the money, once paid into CARA, will be used as restitution for victims, and to assist in building South Africa’s capacity and resources in its ongoing fight against serious corruption.

“It needs to be made clear, however, that this settlement does not indemnify any individuals involved in criminal conduct, including directors, staff and contractors of ABB.”

Corruption and state capture

Mhaga added that the recovery of the money is a two-pronged approach and strategy in fighting corruption and state capture by prosecuting the perpetrators.

“It is a clear indication that we will stop at nothing in ensuring that those implicated in state capture and corruption at Eskom are held accountable and the rule of law will be restored and impunity will no longer be a given.”

Mhaga said the payment must be made within 60 days from 1 December 2022.

ALSO READ: Eskom says ‘not aware’ of state security’s request for vetting information about De Ruyter

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Can Ramaphosa survive after abject leadership failure around Phala Phala?

“President Cyril Ramaphosa must immediately step aside.” This was Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s reaction during a radio interview after reading the Section 89 panel’s Phala Phala report.

It found evidence that President Cyril Ramaphosa may have committed serious misconduct and violated the law after he had millions of dollars in US currency, stashed on his game farm, and that he had started an off-the-books investigation after the money was stolen. 

The panel’s investigation has been so long in the making – after Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula extended its 30-day deadline to November 30 – that the rumour mill had gone into overdrive on what it might say.

In the end, the report makes for grim reading in Parliament and the Union Buildings. It zooms in on the origin of the foreign currency and its underlying transaction. It concludes that Ramaphosa “has a case to answer” and may have committed a serious violation of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and the constitution “by exposing himself to a conflict between his official responsibilities and his private business”. 

ALSO READ: Phala Phala findings ‘an immediate crisis’ for Ramaphosa’s political career

Plenty of embarrassing details will make ANC MPs squirm, if asked to defend them when the National Assembly meets on December 6 to debate the report and decide whether the president should face a hearing on whether Parliament should remove him from office. Ramaphosa could be removed from office if two-thirds of Parliament vote for impeachment – or he could be recalled as soon as December 15 by a resolution of an ANC NEC meeting.

What does it mean for Ramaphosa?

Now that this report has come out – just two weeks before the ANC’s elective conference? It could be the final nail in the coffin, as it throws Ramaphosa’s presidency into crisis and casts doubt on his future as South Africa’s leader. 

Now that the panel report has arrived, no one can claim to doubt the president’s precarious position. The only question is how long his foes, already smelling blood in the water, will allow him to continue as president.

It is unlikely that the situation will improve for him in the next two weeks, as he is not bold enough to use that time to shake up his cabinet to woo ANC MPs and conference delegates. For the time being, it appears more and more MPs are unwilling to stick with him, pointing to the impending impeachment process and the ANC conference as the crunch points.

The reason Ramaphosa’s allies believe he is unlikely to survive this challenge goes beyond the report’s contents. He looks set to resist anticipated attempts to remove him at this week’s ANC NEC meeting and might devise political and legal strategies to safeguard his presidency. The biggest reason he will still be in the Union Buildings at the start of the ANC conference is the lack of a unifying contender for the party presidency to replace him and lead the campaign for the 2024 national and provincial elections. 

This situation means a number of ANC MPs and party branches are backing him reluctantly ahead of the parliamentary debate and the conference. So, while this report may not change his position yet, it adds to concerns about the ANC’s miserable situation.

ALSO READ: ANC has to lose power for it to take people and democracy seriously

Ramaphosa also faces two other investigations – one by the NPA and the other by the public protector – which could further jeopardise his future as South Africa’s leader.

Politicians will argue over facts and procedures, but the truth speaks to common sense. The president is likely to have committed serious misconduct and law violations. He believed that as long as he kept the alleged law violations under wraps, he would not need to account for them publicly. He was wrong.

We have been systematically lied to by politicians at a time when we needed and deserved to have total trust in our elected public representatives. Just as his possible rule-breaking put the nation’s stability at risk, his potential casual lawbreaking could jeopardise our national response to future allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

This is the context to read the panel’s report, which discloses how many law violations the president may have committed in light of all the information placed before it. The text and tables make for difficult reading because of the contrast between Ramaphosa’s denials and non-disclosures and South Africans’ mistrust and disappointment in Parliament. 

We choose who leads us. We need trustworthy leadership in the eyes of the people, not leadership that takes advantage of our goodwill. We need leadership that understands the sacrifices that ordinary South Africans make day in and day out. We need leaders that act in a manner that is consistent with their office rather than exposing themselves to a conflict between their official responsibilities and their private business. 

In the end, this has never been about the president’s private financial affairs, who is, after all, a victim of criminals, but the abject leadership failure that allowed the mishandling of a crime scene and the attempt to cover it up when challenged.

The panel’s report is measured and balanced, as you would expect from legal experts led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo. It stops short of considering whether individual events did or did not breach the rules and the law, as its unprecedented finding is just an early step in any path to impeachment. Nevertheless, its findings are damning, and each event is juxtaposed against the prevailing rules at the time to devastating effect. 

ALSO READ: Dlamini-Zuma calls for Ramaphosa to step aside over damning Phala Phala report

In a statement released late on Wednesday, Ramaphosa reiterated that he had done nothing to violate his constitutional oath and spoke of “an unprecedented and extraordinary moment for South Africa’s constitutional democracy”. On Thursday, he pulled out of a question-and-answer session at the National Council of Provinces, while Deputy President David Mabuza and several cabinet ministers cancelled appointments.

Yes, the president continues to plead his innocence – but sometimes saying I have done nothing wrong is not enough when faced with a ferocious tide of calls for your resignation.

  • Dr Nkosikhulule Nyembezi is a policy analyst and a human rights activist.
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WATCH: Did Andile Mpisane flop during Durban performance?

Andile Mpisane’s lacklustre performance in Durban has his critics in a frenzy. 

Described as a musician, a Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson for club Royal AM, reality star and a soccer player, Mpisane has his fingers in many pies. His music isn’t resonating with the masses, however.

Was Andile Mpisane’s performance a flop?

Mpisane shared an 11-minute video of his performance in KwaMashu. Despite his energy on stage, his dances weren’t enough to move the crowd to the beats. 

They can be heard cheering him on, however it seemed as if they didn’t know his music and lyrics and wasn’t receptive to the songs.

In the video, the concertgoers are seen staring at him and not dancing. 

Some commentators said Mpisane should rather focus on business instead of music because it doesn’t look like it’s working for him. 

Mpisane’s previous performances

Earlier this year, Mpisane performed amongst hip-hop heavyweights as he rubbed shoulders with Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, and Jeezy in New York. 

Mpisane was in the lineup with these artists as he was the opening act of The Street Tour in Detroit, an accolade that surprised many.

There were questions raised about how Andile landed the gig, particularly as he was chosen as the first-ever South African act in The Street Tour.

Andile’s most well-known song is Umcimbi, featuring Madanon and Distruction Boyz.

ALSO READ: Mamkhize and Andile Mpsiane meet hip hop A-listers in New York

There were jokes that either him or his mother, businesswoman Shauwn ‘Mam’Mkhize’ Mkhize paid his way into the lineup and that his music didn’t live up to the standard of the ensemble.

Mpisane’s music is inspired by amapiano and the gqom genres, so it was strange the artist didn’t hit the right note in KwaMashu which is known to love this type of music.

He was recently seen in Dubai with his wife Tamia Mpisane as they travelled to the oil-rich city.

The couple have had to deal with the shocking allegations made by Sithelo Shozi, Mpisane’s ex-partner, and mother of his two children. Shozi alleged she was abused by the 21-year-old during their relationship, allegations his family denied.

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Call for secret ballot when Parliament votes on Phala Phala report

All eyes are on next week’s debate in Parliament where MPs are expected to vote on the Phala Phala report.

The Section 89 panel, led by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, last night released its report into the theft of $580 000 at President Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm in Limpopo.

The report concluded that Ramaphosa may have committed serious violations of the Constitution and anti-corruption laws.

Debate

With the panel now having found that the president has a prima facie case to answer, Parliament will consider and deliberate on the Phala Phala report on Tuesday, 6 December.

The procedural aspects of the debate was discussed during the National Assembly’s Programme Committee meeting on Thursday.

During the virtual meeting, secretary to the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso told MPs that it was up to the Programme Committee to decide whether to debate or just make declaration of vote on the report.

Xaso also explained how Parliament will proceed if the National Assembly adopts the resolution that Ramaphosa should face a Section 89 Inquiry.

ALSO READ: Phala Phala: ANC MPs ‘seeking guidance’ ahead of debate, while investigator guns for Arthur Fraser

“If the House agrees that there is a basis for that recommendation of the panel, the rules then take the process to the next step and the next step is the impeachment committee. What will happen after the debate [is that] a question will be put [on whether to agreed with] the recommendations,” he said.

He further indicated that all parties would need to be represented on the impeachment committee.

“It’s not like establishing an ad hoc committee where you will now need another motion establishing the impeachment committee. The rules say there is an impeachment committee so it’s already in place. It’s just a question of nominating names and the Speaker [must] make a determination in terms of the membership of that committee.”

Rule 97 of the National Assembly, states that “all questions before the Assembly are decided by a majority of the votes cast”.

Secret ballot

The African Transformation Movement (ATM), which filed the Section 89 motion, proposed a secret ballot vote system.

“We want as a party, when the report is considered, [the voting] be done via a means of a secret ballot.

“You’ll recall that in the previous Constitutional Court judgment the issue of the secret ballot was stressed and given the gravity of the report and how scathing it is on a sitting president, it will be prudent that members of Parliament are protected from being dictated by their parties as to how to [vote].

“The current method is basically 14 people voting on behalf of 400 people,” ATM president Vuyo Zungula told the committee.

READ MORE: Phala Phala findings place Ramaphosa’s political career and future into ‘an immediate crisis’

Earlier in the year, National Assembly, Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula rejected the ATM’s request for a secret ballot vote when the party tabled a motion of no confidence against Ramaphosa.

Furthermore, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to National Assembly, Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula requesting a manual voting procedure after the debate, during next week’s consideration of the Phala Phala report.

A manual voting system may be utilised when no electronic voting system is in operation, according to Rule 104 of the National Assembly.

A two-thirds majority is needed when voting takes place.

Investigations

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa is also currently facing other investigations regarding Phala Phala. 

Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya this week revealed that the investigating unit has processed at least 68 affidavits at this stage.

Lebeya said investigations were continuing, but they are not “reporting blow by blow” on the matter.

The Public Protector’s office is investigating whether Ramaphosa violated the Executive Members’ Ethics Code by not reporting the February 2020 theft to the police.

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has been looking into the matter as well since foreign currency was found at the president’s farm.

NOW READ: Dlamini-Zuma calls for Ramaphosa to step aside over damning Phala Phala report

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Horse racing best bets, Thursday 1 December 2022

Keep up to date with your favourite daily value and best bet horse racing tips.

Click here for more horse racing news, profiles and much more, only in The Citizen.

VAAL

BEST BET

RACE 8: NO 1-CIAN THE CONQUEROR – WIN

This gelding caused a major upset when winning on debut, though trainer Corne Spies said he
knew his charge was decent but just felt he would need a run, and Jockey Marco van Rensburg said the victory was no surprise for him.

Three winners have come from that form line so it is clearly worth following this son of William
Longsword.

VALUE BET

RACE 5: NO 4 KAYLA’S DREAM – EACH WAY

This six-year-old mare had a very decent run after a rest, just tiring over the final 200m, but that
run was over 1600m and the move up to 1800m will suit.

She met a number of Thursday’s opposition last time, and with the run under her belt could make up the leeway on those runners, which includes favourite Gilda Gray.

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K9 Jett’s body found washed up at sewage treatment facility

After four days of searching for missing K9 Jett’s body, volunteers confirmed he had been found at the Zeekoegat sewage treatment facility on Wednesday night.

Healthy Hound Missing Pet Search and Rescue told Pretoria Rekord the team had been notified his body washed up at the facility.

“One of our volunteers went out and confirmed that the body is indeed of Jett.”

He will now be cremated, the organisation said.

ALSO READ: PICS: Search for missing K9 called off after Jett presumed dead

Jett went missing after falling down a manhole in Pretoria on Sunday. He was tracking a missing Jack Russell in the Hartbeestspruit nature area when he fell.

The missing Jack Russell, Freddie, was found on Monday night.

Pretoria Rekord reported that his handler, Diane Logie, tried to save him, but was unable to reach him in time before he was swept away.

Logie was injured after she followed Jett down the manhole.

She fell roughtly three metres down a pipe until she landed in water. She was washed down next to an access pipe where she was able to escape using a ladder.

The manhole has since been covered.

K9 Jett's body found washed up at sewage treatment facility
The manhole Jett fell into on Sunday, 27 November 2022. Photo: Supplied to Pretoria Rekord

A massive search effort ensued, involving police, Pit-Track K9 Conservation and Anti-Poaching Unit, volunteers and the Tshwane Emergency Services Department.

But the drain Jett fell into has fast-flowing water in drainage pipes. It was likely he would suffocate due to fumes from the sewage pipe if he managed to survive the water.

“We would like to thank everyone for your messages and support over this difficult time.

“In honour of Jett, we will still be working but doing limited searches as some handlers are still recovering physically and the team needs time to grieve.”

Jett was a 17-month-old specialist missing pet search dog, and one of two internationally trained dogs.

“It’s been difficult. I am physically and emotionally exhausted, with a headache from another planet. I cannot describe my emotions. Jett was just special,” Logie told The Citizen earlier this week.

NOW READ: ‘It’s been difficult,’ says handler as search for missing K9 called off

Compiled and edited by Nica Richards.

Parts of this article first appeared on Caxton publication Pretoria Rekord’s website, by Shaun Sproule. Read the original article here.

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Hlatshwayo hints at behind the scenes events for Pirates failure

Former Orlando Pirates captain and defender Thulani “Tyson” Hlatshwayo has hinted at behind the scenes events for his failure to impress at the Buccaneers. 

ALSO READ: Rama back at training with AmaZulu after concussion injury

Hlatshwayo signed for Pirates amid a huge fanfare as he had captained Bidvest Wits and Bafana Bafana with aplomb. 

It was also Hlatshayo’s dream move as he had always mentioned how he grew up supporting the Buccaneers and how he wanted to play for them.

Upon joining, he was handed the armband and named team captain while Happy Jele remained as club captain. 

He led Pirates to victory in the MTN8 within the first few weeks of his arrival, but things started going south. 

Following a string of bad displays which included conceding penalties and scoring own goals, he was relegated to the bench.   

He never really made a comeback until he asked the club to release him at the end of last season and he later linked up with Gavin Hunt at SuperSport United. 

“There were things that were happening behind closed doors at Pirates that I can’t disclose now,” Hlatshwayo told Marawa Sports Worldwide on Wednesday. 

“But I (had) captained Bafana Bafana for seven years (before joining Pirates).”

ALSO READ: Brand manager Bertrand leaves Orlando Pirates

Hlatshwayo says he could feel that his time at Pirates was up.

“You can feel it when the curtains are about to close. I was playing for the team I grew up supporting and representing the team I hold dear to my heart. 

“I told myself I will approach management after the season,” he says of his exit from the Soweto giants. 

He also revealed that he had mental health issues because of the experience he was going through. 

“Everything comes with consequences. I remember when I joined Pirates, the welcome was so amazing. but my wife told me to prepare for the pros and cons. 

“What happened didn’t break me but only made me stronger. The best support came from home but my kids are young. 

“With my actions and behaviour, my kids were able to sense the vibe but I’ve got to give it to my wife for making me realise I needed to change.

“”I consulted with someone to help me because I could see I was changing into a different person, not only in football but as a person and towards my family,” says Hlatshwayo. 

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Crowie happy with Amajimbos’ preparations for Afcon qualifiers

Amajimbos coach Duncan Crowie is happy with the way the preparations are going for the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations Cosafa qualifiers (Afcon) to be staged in Malawi this month.

ALSO READ: Brand manager Bertrand leaves Orlando Pirates

The South African Under-17 men’s team will open their Group B campaign at the tournament against Seychelles on Saturday, before taking on Mozambique two days later. They will wrap-up the group phase with a clash against Zambia on 7 December.

“So far I am happy with the way the preparations have gone. But like I said, I am happy with the preparations and the most important thing is for us as the technical team to make sure that occasion does not get too big for the players,” says Crowie.

“We have to ensure that the players concentrate on the soccer side of things and then I think half the battle will be won. But we will see how it goes. In football you never know what will happen next, but we will make sure we keep the guys grounded, focused and mentally prepared.”

The battle for a spot at the Afcon will also see Namibia, Angola, Botswana and Malawi battle it out for a place at the junior continental competition in the other group.

The top two teams of each group will play in the semi-finals, with the finalists getting a spot at the Afcon which will be hosted in Algeria next year.

Meanwhile, the South African Under-17 women’s team will also be competing in the women’s edition of the tournament, which also takes place in Malawi.

Bantwana will kick-start the competition with a tie against the hosts on Wednesday afternoon, before going on to take Namibia in their last Group A game.