Johannesburg - The decision by the president to take the Section 89 panel’s report on review at the Constitutional Court has been met with criticism by the EFF.
The party has accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of waging war against the country’s parliament. This comes as the president has lodged an application to review and set aside the findings of the Section 89 independent panel, which found that Ramaphosa has a case to answer on the Phala Phala farm matter.
On Monday, Ramaphosa filed papers to contest the Section 89 report, which was compiled by retired former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo.
The independent panel found Ramaphosa had failed to report the incident on his farm where millions of US dollars were stolen to the relevant authorities and that he may have a case to answer.
It also found that the president may have violated anti-corruption laws and abused his power when he took matters into his own hands instead of involving the authorities.
Ramaphosa indicated last week that he would be taking the report for judicial review as it concerns potential impeachment, and on Monday, he subsequently lodged an application directly to the constitutional court to have the report reviewed and possibly set aside.
While addressing members of the media at the EFF headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday, EFF leader Julius Malema said the panel has ceased to exist and therefore, reviewing and challenging the report was akin to taking Parliament to court, as the panel was appointed by Parliament through National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
"The panel has ceased to exist after finalising its report. These members did not appoint themselves but were appointed by the speaker of the National Assembly, so taking the report to the constitutional court for it to be reviewed is the same as taking your own parliament to court," Malema told members of the media.
In a statement issued on Monday, the party said it was appalled by Ramaphosa’s decision to apply directly to the Constitutional Court to have the report reviewed.
"The decision to take his own Parliament to court in order to prevent it from exercising its duty of oversight and accountability is a common confirmation of Ramaphosa’s guilt and arrogance in the face of damning findings of his violation of the constitution of South Africa.
"If Ramaphosa is truly innocent, he would not be threatened by a process to examine whether he has committed crimes on Phala Phala Farm because it is this very impeachment process that will investigate the matter and exonerate him if he is innocent," the party said.
The EFF said Ramaphosa’s decision to go directly to the Constitutional Court shows that he has no regard for transparency or the Constitution itself.
"His actions are those of a guilty man who has no respect for the people of this country and will go to great lengths to cover up his criminality. Ramaphosa has now turned to his ally and confidant in the Constitutional Court, Raymond Zondo, to reverse the credible, sound, and concise findings of a Section 89 independent panel.
"The fact that Ramaphosa has not applied for review on an urgent basis shows that his sole interest is to cast doubt over the report and delay its processing by parliament until he has emerged in the conference of the ANC," the EFF said.