The ANC has reconvened its national executive committee’s (NEC) all-important meeting to discuss the burning Phala Phala report for Sunday, after President Cyril Ramaphosa pulled a no-show.
This comes in the backdrop of News24 reporting that Ramaphosa, who has taken advice not to step down, briefed his legal team to begin a process to take the Section 89 panel report on review.
The president was scheduled to be grilled by the NEC on the panel report finding that he had a case to answer over the Phala Phala fiasco in the meeting initially scheduled for Friday at the Nasrec conference.
The NEC members, especially those expecting his head on a plate, including former president Thabo Mbeki, were reportedly not pleased that Ramaphosa gave the meeting a miss.
Ramaphosa is facing the ultimate test of his political career after a parliamentary independent found that there was “prima facie” evidence that he covered up the burglary at his Limpopo Phala Phala farm.
But the report of the panel, chaired by Retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, on which Ramaphosa’s detractors have relied on to get rid of him, has been increasingly criticised as flawed.
Former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela is amongst a growing chorus of influential people questioning the integrity of the report.
“I have greatest respect for judge Ngcobo and the panel but I am concerned about the law because especially because I teach investigations and I also teach constitutional law,” she said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika.
She explained that Section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combatting Corrupt Activities imposed a duty to report corrupt activities and not theft of money at your own place.
Stellenbosch University Professor Jonathan Jansen also poked fun at the report in a tweet.
“If a trio of honours students had written the Phala Phala report I would have failed all three and barred them from further access to higher education”, he remarked.
Legal expert advocate Michael Osborne told eNCA that large parts of the Phala Phala report are based on “hearsay” presented quite a detailed summary of material placed before it.
He noted that only written material were placed before it by the complainants which would be the “EFF, the ATM, the UDM and then some responses from the president”
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya told EWN taking the report on review was a serious consideration, but that the president had not yet communicated this decision to Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Ramaphosa had reportedly given it all up and was about to resign as president of the country and the ruling party, but a grouping of his powerful backers would have none of it, insiders told The Citizen.
It is understood those behind the push for him to stay were ANC deputy president candidates Ronald Lamola and Oscar Mabuyane, Northern Cape premier and ANC provincial chair Dr Zamani Saul, Gwen Ramokgopa, who is co-ordinator of the ANC secretary-general’s office, and NEC member Derek Hanekom.