Phala Phala comes back to haunt Ramaphosa

The FF Plus wants Parliament to revisit the Phala Phala Independent Panel report. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

The FF Plus wants Parliament to revisit the Phala Phala Independent Panel report. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 3, 2024


The Constitutional Court on Monday issued directions in the EFF’s bid to challenge Parliament’s December 2022 decision to not adopt the Section 89 panel report on the Phala Phala scandal.

The apex court wants the arguments by July 26.

The EFF maintains that Parliament acted irrationally by “blocking” a further probe against Ramaphosa.

According to documents that “The Star” has seen, the EFF is the applicant going against the first respondent, the Speaker of the National Assembly (former speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula), the second respondent, the National Assembly, and the third respondent, Ramaphosa, while the fourth respondent is the political parties represented in the National Assembly.

According to Constitutional Court registrar Sibusiso Mapossa, the Chief Justice has issued the following directions: “The application is set down for hearing in due course. The applicant must, on or before Monday, July 1, 2024, file a paginated record in accordance with rule 20(1) and (2) of this court’s rules containing only those portions of the record that are strictly necessary for the determination of the issues.

“Written argument must be lodged by –

(a) the applicant, on or before Friday, July 19, 2024; and

(b) the respondents, on or before Friday, July 26, 2024.

“Further directions may be issued.”

Meanwhile, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) wants Parliament to revisit the Phala Phala Independent Panel report.

This comes as the vultures are circling President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC, following the governing party’s disastrous showing at the 2024 national general elections.

The ANC’s majority in Parliament was reduced to 40% or just 159 seats out of 400 from a high of 204 in the past elections.

This is the first time that the ANC has lost its outright majority in the National Assembly since the dawn of democracy 30 years ago.

In the previous election in 2019, the governing party had won 230 seats.

Now that the party has lost its majority, which it used to cover up the Phala Phala farm scandal, things are set to change with many parties circling Ramaphosa.

According to the SABC News report, this is the view of the FF Plus, one of the parties that did well in the national general elections.

FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald told SAFM that the Phala Phala Independent Panel report should be reintroduced in Parliament, with the party’s chief whip, Dr Corné Mulder, saying the ANC could no longer shield its president or its members from accountability through its majority in Parliament.

“The fact of the matter is that if South Africa is now under the current situation of coalitions and no single party has the majority, it will set a new example of keeping the executive to account. This is part of that process where we need to go back and revisit those reports, including the Zondo report, and set the tone of how we as South African move forwards,” he said.

Mulder added that he was confident that the seventh administration would be able to lead Parliament in the right direction after Ramaphosa was exonerated by various institutions, including the public protector and Sars.

Opposition political parties negotiating with the ANC on possible coalitions have indicated that they do not want Ramaphosa as part of their deal. This includes the newly-formed uMkhonto weSizwe Party.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe, speaking to “The Star” on Monday, said the Phala Phala scandal would not go away. “Advocate Ngalwana SC has already approached the court to force the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) to explain itself why Ramaphosa has not been charged in the face of the damning findings of the independent parliamentary panel that was chaired by a former Chief Justice,” said Seepe.

Another political analyst, Jamie Mighti, said: “The Phala Phala matter is back to bite and Mr Ramaphosa will not be able to hide this story in a mattress. Not only is Parliament eager to look into the matter again, the Constitutional Court has issued directions to the parties.”

The Star