Pretoria - Former ANC spokesperson and the party’s NEC member Carl Niehaus has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of showing the country the “middle finger” by hosting a cattle auction at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo on Saturday.
The farm has been making headlines after former State Security Agency director-general Arthur Fraser revealed that Ramaphosa tried to conceal a crime, the alleged robbery of $4 million (more than R60m), from his farm.
On Saturday Ramaphosa hosted an auction where scores of breeders gathered to buy livestock, among them the Ankole cows.
Speaking to the Pretoria News yesterday, Niehaus said Ramaphosa was in contravention of the Constitution by continuing to do business while he was a sitting president.
“The president is contravening his Oath of Office. He is acting in an illegal manner. He is flouting the provisions of our Constitution and no one can say he does not know that he is in contravention of the Constitution. This shows us the character of the man, that he does not give a damn because he continued with an auction despite being told it was illegal.
“The president was literally showing us as a nation the middle finger, telling us to get lost.”
Nienhaus also said Ramaphosa was misusing state organs and resources, saying his private properties should not be guarded by state police. “He is misusing people in his president’s protection team. Police officers carried out his personal search for those who stole money from him and he continues to use state resources. There was a nyala (police armoured vehicle) at his gate at the farm protecting the private property of the president.
“It was also reported that the signal to the farm was jammed while the only institution in South Africa which legally has the right to possess cellphone signal scramblers is the State Security Agency.”
Niehaus said Ramaphosa, having centralised intelligence and state security at his office, was evidently illegally using state resources. “We have a president who is a thug and doesn’t care what we do. We have a president who does not give a damn for the Constitution, and we can’t allow him to continue with impunity. He must be accountable and face the music,” Niehaus said.
He said Ramaphosa had acknowledged to the country that he was still engaged in business when he addressed delegates at the 10th ANC Limpopo conference two weeks ago. “Ramaphosa said that despite being the president he was also a businessman who breeds, buys and sells cattle.
“That was an acknowledgement by the president that he is directly involved in business.
“He buys and sells animals. In terms of the executive ethics code and in terms of section 96 of our Constitution, that is entirely illegal. The president is not allowed to run any other business. All of it is without any doubt in contravention of the executive ethics code.”
However, legal expert and lawyer Mafa Letsela of Letsela and Nkondo attorneys, said the president was allowed to have businesses in terms of the Constitution, as long as he declared them. He said: “There is nothing that holds the president from owning businesses as long as he declares that and it should not be in conflict. For example, he should not conduct business with the government.”
Letsela also said that having police guarding the president’s private property was part of his benefits.
Responding to questions from the Pretoria News regarding the matters raised by Niehaus, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said: “No, I won’t comment.”