Ramaphosa on water reports
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the quality of water in South Africa is of high standard. Photo: GCIS

DA leader John Steenhuisen declared today in the South African National Assembly that “an innocent man should never be afraid of the truth. And an innocent President should never be afraid of Parliament.”

Speaking ahead of a vote to establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of misconduct against SA President Cyril Ramaphosa around the theft at his Phala Phala farm, the opposition leader said today is Parliament’s last chance to do the “right thing” concerning the Phala Phala matter.

“The ANC has already used the tyranny of majority in this House to squash the section 89 report, and this was done for no other reason other than the fact that the report contained truths that were inconvenient for the ANC and inconvenient for President Ramaphosa,” said Steenhuisen.

The findings in the report included that Ramaphosa had a prima facie case to answer in that he may have committed:

  • a serious violation of section 96 of the Constitution;
  • a serious violation of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act;
  • serious misconduct, in that the President acted in a way that is inconsistent with his office; and
  • serious misconduct in exposing himself to a situation involving a conflict of interest between his official responsibilities and his private business.

Steenhuisen says the report’s serious allegations were swept under the carpet by ANC speakers who claimed the President was going “to set aside the report in the Constitutional Court”.

Steenhuisen said: “We now know that this attempt fizzled and failed, as the Constitutional Court unanimously dismissed the application for direct access.”

But, he says, we have seen this all before.

“When Justice Raymond Zondo wrote his final report on State Capture, he reserved his harshest words for the sell-outs in Parliament who trampled their oath of office in service of a corrupt president and his cabinet.

““Never again,” we were told, would Parliament be disempowered, as it was in those dark days.

“And yet, here we are again. What has really changed?

Then it was Nkandla. Now it’s Phala Phala.

Then it was fire pools and cattle kraals. Now its couches stuffed with dollars.

Then it was President Jacob Zuma. Now it’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.”

Steenhuisen says it’s the same modus operandi: “as long as you have the numbers in Parliament, you can make any scandal go away.”

“Today the ANC speakers are going to try and keep their callous charade alive.

“They are going to say that the Public Protector has “cleared” the President, when they know that a final report is still awaited.

“They are going to say we must wait for that final report, when they know that the Nkandla judgement set out clearly that Parliament must do its job even while others do theirs.

“They are going to say there is no need for an ad-hoc committee, when they know full well that the independent panel and the Public Protector did not have access to the full powers of subpoena of persons and documents that an ad hoc committee would.”

Steenhuisen claims the truth is that only an ad-hoc committee can get to the bottom of how those “dirty dollars unlawfully entered the country” and ended up stuffed into a counch in the president’s private home, why the theft was nevery properly reported, and why the publicly-funded presidential protection unit responsible for protecting Ramaphosa the president, was “unlawfully used to recover the dirty dollars of Mr. Ramaphosa the businessman”.

Steenhuisen urged members of the house to vote carefully and consider previous ANC scandals from Waterkloof Landing, State Capture and the Arms Deal to Sarafina, Nkandla and Prasa scandals.

He concluded: “At the end of the day, the one thing that every South African must remember is this: An innocent man should never be afraid of the truth. And an innocent President should never be afraid of Parliament.”