It is almost ten months after the Phala Phala saga came to light and threatened to bring down Ramaphosa. It now appears whether the president will survive the scandal.
“If Ramaphosa lies awake at night, it is about his next big deal. I don’t think he is lying awake about Phala Phala,” says the legal expert prof. Koos Malan. It became known this week that a parliamentary ad hoc committee will not be set up to investigate Ramaphosa’s part in the saga.
It now seems that it is only the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) investigation into the theft of $580,000 on the president’s game farm Phala-Phala that is still outstanding at this stage and has the potential to cause problems for Ramaphosa.
The controversial former intelligence chief Arthur Fraser filed criminal charges against Ramaphosa in the middle of last year in connection with the hidden dollars stolen from Phala Phala in 2020.
However, Malan says the chance that Ramaphosa will finally be prosecuted for the foreign currency is “extremely slim” as he was in Addis Ababa at the time when the money got its footing. He will probably be able to easily place the blame on his security team.
Malan says the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will also “think twice” before prosecuting the president of the country with a case that is not watertight.
“We must also remember that we are dealing with a weathered and worn-out police service and NPA, whose ability to investigate and prosecute has weakened tremendously over the past 25 years.”
Various processes against Ramaphosa have reached dead ends in the past few months.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, speaker of the National Assembly (NA), started this month firmly putting her foot down against a request from the EFF to parliament to re-investigate Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala scandal.
The president was also exonerated this month in an interim report by the Public Protector (OB) of any wrongdoing in this scandal.
This after MPs also did not accept the article 89 panel’s report, which found there was enough evidence that Ramaphosa did violate the Constitution in relation to the Phala Phala scandal.
Rhewal reported in December that 148 MPs voted “yes” to impeach Ramaphosa. However, a total of 214 members of parliament voted “no” and kept Ramaphosa in his post.
Ramaphosa was then also re-elected president of the ruling party during the ANC’s leadership conference.
Malan says the MPs who voted against Ramaphosa and various opposition parties are still clinging to the scandal in an attempt to remove Ramaphosa from office. “However, I don’t think they are going to dog her at all. I think Ramaphosa’s political position is much stronger than it was.
“The ANC enjoys a large majority and Ramaphosa’s position within the ANC has strengthened after the electoral conference. By the nature of the matter, the ANC caucus is not going to allow a parliamentary process to be introduced to embarrass Ramaphosa.”
Malan says things could have turned out very differently for Ramaphosa if South Africa had had a “competent and energetic police service” and the position of opposition parties had been stronger.
“As long as you have the numbers in parliament, you can make any scandal disappear,” agreed John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, this week after it became known that a parliamentary ad hoc committee would not be set up to investigate Ramaphosa. s part in the saga.
Read all of Rhewal’s previous reports on the Phala Phala scandal here.
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