Deputy President Paul Mashatile has urged Members of Parliament (MPs) and the public to respect the criminal justice system and investigative bodies even if they disagreed with their findings.
He said that despite some of the political parties disagreeing with the findings of the Public Protector, Kholeka Gcaleka, on Phala Phala they must respect her office.
He also said he had full confidence in the criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies, and they do their work without fear or favour.
Mashatile, who was replying to questions in Parliament on Thursday, said the bodies that investigated President Cyril Ramaphosa on Phala Phala had completed their work and it was time to accept the findings.
EFF MP Busisiwe Mkhwebane asked Mashatile about the Phala Phala report, which had been questioned by political parties.
However, Mashatile said there was no favouritism when Ramaphosa was investigated by multiple agencies over Phala Phala. Ramaphosa was probed by the Public Protector, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), and the SA Revenue Service (SARS).
“Let me put it differently, honourable Mkhwebane; the law does not have eyes. When the law is implemented, it does not look and say, ‘This one is the president; let’s treat him differently’.
“You will recall that right from the beginning with the allegations of Phala Phala, the president himself said, ‘I subject myself to the processes of the law. Let those agencies that are being tasked to do the task, let them be allowed to do it. Let them investigate; let’s give them their space’.
“Once they have done so, I think it is our duty to be able to say, ‘Thank you very much; you have done the work; we accept the reports’. I don’t think we must want to accept the reports that we want or that we anticipate.
“I think we must respect the professionalism of those tasked to do the work. There may be allegations of tax evasion, but I have confidence in the law enforcement agencies of the country. I have confidence in the criminal justice system that it will deal with all of us without fear or favour.
“There is no favouritism in the criminal justice system, whether you are president, deputy president, minister, or advocate. The law is the same for all of us,” said Mashatile.
He said the problem in South Africa was that politicians were tried in a court of public opinion, and they were found guilty despite a court of law finding them not guilty.
He said he was satisfied with the work done by law enforcement agencies.
The Phala Phala report rocked the country a few years ago.
This week, two suspects appeared in the Bela Bela Magistrate’s Court for the theft of money at Ramaphosa’s farm in 2020.
The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that $580,000 (R1.07 billion) was stolen at the farm.
Namibian nationals Imanuwela David and Froliana Joseph appeared in court on theft and housebreaking charges, and their case was postponed to Friday.