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Teachers union calls for members of Section 89 panel to be investigated

The official handing over of the long-awaited Phala Phala report took place at Parliament. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

The official handing over of the long-awaited Phala Phala report took place at Parliament. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 5, 2022


Johannesburg - The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has called for an investigation into the conduct of two members of the Section 89 independent panel, whose report has dealt a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa's second term bid.

Last week, the report compiled by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo made adverse findings against the president, saying Ramaphosa has a prima facie case to answer over the Phala Phala farm robbery.

Now Sadtu wants Ngcobo and Justice Thokozile Masipa to be investigated. The union issued a statement on Sunday, saying its National Executive Committee has resolved to lodge a formal complaint against former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, who chaired the panel, and Justice Thokozile Masipa.

"The National Executive Committee of Sadtu has called for a full investigation into the conduct of the two members of the independent panel set up in terms of Rule 129E to investigate the possible impeachment of state president Cyril Ramaphosa, justices Sandile Ngcobo, and Thokozile Masipa.

"Further, the NEC will, in due course, lodge a formal complaint with the Judicial Services Commission in terms of Section 14 of the Judicial Services Commission Act," the statement reads.

The union has accused the panel of making its findings based on hearsay and not on evidence.

"The panel and its members made findings based on hearsay evidence in circumstances where the hearsay evidence is wholly inadmissible and the rules applicable thereto were not observed," said Sadtu.

Sadtu added that as a registered trade union representing over 265 000 members, "it has a direct and substantial interest in the protection of the constitution, the upholding of human rights for all, and ensuring full accountability of those who exercise public power."

The panel, in its final report to Parliament, found that there was "prima facie" evidence that President Cyril Ramaphosa had breached the Constitution in relation to his handling of the robbery at his Phala Phala farm.

The panel made a total of four findings against Ramaphosa in its 87-page report and conceded that some of the evidence placed before it was based on hearsay.

The union further stated that "a review of the report reveals that it is fundamentally flawed."

Sadtu's statement follows confirmation from the president's office that Ramaphosa is considering reviewing the Section 89 panel report.

The Star