INDEPENDENT analyst Professor Sipho Seepe has raised concerns over the courage of the Section 89 Independent Panel headed by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo handed over the panel’s report into the Phala Phala #Farmgate today.
The deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Zululand said that the narrowness of the terms of reference was of concern.
“Judge Ngcobo is strict and very precise, but unlike former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, he might not look at the bigger picture … because Ngcobo has also indicated that it is a parliamentary matter.
“But I cannot imagine them not commenting on President Cyril Ramaphosa being engaged in a side hustle of selling animals as he stated in some of his public responses. That on its own, means we are going for a long haul,” said Seepe.
The Section 89 Independent Panel – which comprises Ngcobo, retired High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa and Advocate Mahlape Sello – confirmed this week that it had completed its work probing the Phala Phala scandal.
“Given the huge public interest in the report, and in particular, that the panel complies with the extended deadline, we have considered it necessary for the handover of the report to take place in public,” Justice Ngcobo said earlier this week.
The panel’s mandate was to assess whether there was sufficient evidence for Parliament to proceed with a Section 89 Inquiry and was given 30 days to conclude its deliberations and report to the National Assembly.
This came after the leader of the African Transformation Movement (ATM) Vuyo Zungula launched a motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa because of his involvement in the Phala Phala scandal.
Ramaphosa is, among other things, accused of being allegedly involved in money laundering, undermining the rule of law, assault, and kidnapping allegations.
The shocking revelations surfaced after former spy boss Arthur Fraser laid criminal charges against President Ramaphosa and his head of security, General Wally Rhoode, at Rosebank Police station on June 1 this year.
Fraser alleged that Ramaphosa tried to cover up a robbery at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo, where the alleged robbers helped themselves to an undisclosed amount of US dollars, estimated to be between $4 million and $8m (approximately between R76.5m and R145.2m) which was found concealed in the president’s furniture, including a couch and a mattress.
Fraser also alleges that the president paid the five suspected robbers, all Namibian nationals, R150 000 each to buy their silence over the incident.