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ANC throws Ramaphosa back to the integrity committee

Cyril missed initial Thursday appointment with integrity committee

The ANC’s national executive committee meeting on Saturday agreed that President Cyril Ramaphosa must schedule another meeting with the party’s integrity commission “as a matter of urgency” after he failed to appear this week.

Ramaphosa was due to appear before the ethics body on Thursday over the Phala Phala scandal but missed the meeting as he was in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, attending the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) summit.

A brief report the NEC received yesterday is said to have informed members that Ramaphosa could not appear but would do so as soon as possible.

“We did not really discuss it at length because the NEC agreed that the president has to appear as a matter of urgency,” said an NEC insider. The president could not miss the Sacu meeting as SA was an integral part of the union, the insider said.

“So he had to attend the Sacu summit in Botswana. He definitely wants to appear so that he can get this matter over and done with because we have to go to conference. Of course he is seeking a second term and he is going to get it.”

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed Ramaphosa could not appear.

“That meeting was postponed, it might have been issues of the availability of members of the integrity commission,” Mabe said. “Officials have indicated that as soon as they have exhausted those processes of the ANC integrity commission they will return to the NEC and NWC with a report. We were given that update. The commitment he has made to the leadership of the ANC to voluntarily appear before the commission still stands.”  

The insider, sympathetic to Ramaphosa, said those calling for his head were fighting for their own survival as a second term for the president would spell disaster for them.

The commitment he has made to the leadership of the ANC to voluntarily appear before the integrity commission still stands

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe

Ramaphosa faces allegations by former spy boss Arthur Fraser that $4m (about R63m) was stolen from his farm on February 9 2020, that the president swept the matter under the carpet and allegedly bribed the perpetrators to silence them. 

This has prompted calls for Ramaphosa to fall on his sword five months before the ANC elects new leaders. 

“It is their plan and you wouldn’t have expected them to lie down and let us take a second term and probably it will be the end of them because the strength of RET forces is very low now. In fact, I think most of them have jumped to Paul [Mashatile] or whoever is going to be a third way,” the insider said. 

On whether the move by Fraser took the president by surprise, the insider said they had suspected that Fraser was up to something as he had been trying in vain since 2020 to have a one-on-one meeting with Ramaphosa.

“We are not surprised. Arthur has been trying to talk to him since 2020, so we can’t say we are surprised.”  

The public protector’s office confirmed this week that it had granted Ramaphosa’s request for an extension to respond to the Phala Phala allegations. He had been due to respond by June 22.

“Upon a careful consideration of the request, which was brought to acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka’s attention by the investigation officer for approval, it was acceded to. It must be noted that requests such as the president’s are quite common where the public protector’s investigative work is concerned,” the office said. 

Gcaleka added that she had written to National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, informing her that the final report would be submitted once the investigation was complete.

Fraser, a close associate of former president Jacob Zuma, last month laid criminal charges against Ramaphosa, saying there was an attempt to cover up the cash theft at his Phala Phala farm.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) this week confirmed it will investigate an alleged cover-up by the police.

In June Ramaphosa indicated that he wanted to appear before the ANC’s integrity commission to explain the Phala Phala scandal, but he has refused to take questions from the media.

He said this should not be viewed as him putting the party ahead of the country.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya would not comment, saying: “The ANC integrity commission is not a government process.” 

–Sunday Times

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