Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Storm clouds gather for the president over Farmgate

Powerful grouping of opposition parties band together to hold Ramaphosa to account over Phala Phala

Seven opposition parties represented in parliament have unanimously taken a decision to hold President Cyril Ramaphosa accountable as a matter of urgency without “distractions and procrastination” over the Phala Phala scandal.

The DA, EFF, IFP, NFP, ATM, UDM and ACDP held a meeting on Wednesday where an agreement was reached that the concealment of the president’s responses to the public protector is unacceptable and must be challenged. 

“All the opposition parties expressed misgivings and discontent with the manner in which the speaker of parliament has thus far handled the demands of political parties to hold the president accountable,” the grouping said in a statement.

The multiparty grouping also agreed in principle on a way forward in their bid to hold Ramaphosa to account.

All the opposition parties expressed misgivings and discontent with the manner in which the speaker of parliament has thus far handled the demands of political parties to hold the president accountable.

Group statement

The agreements include: 

  • Parliament must hold Ramaphosa accountable for his implication in the violation of laws with regards to Phala Phala.
  • The public protector must publicly disclose the responses of the president and must as a matter of urgency, and as required by law, release the report on the Phala Phala investigations.
  • Parliament must be physically convened to deal with all parliamentary issues and agenda.
  • Opposition parties will request a follow-up meeting with the speaker of parliament to discuss all accountability issues, including the usage of a secret ballot for motions of no confidence.
  • Opposition parties will hold a follow-up meeting on Wednesday, August 10, to finalise a common approach on the establishment of a section 89 committee, parliamentary ad hoc committee and approach to a motion of no confidence on the president.
  • Opposition parties will initiate and participate in broader consultations with civil society organisations, non-profit organisations, trade unions and religious bodies to consolidate a common approach and response to holding the executive and sitting president accountable. 
  • Opposition parties will intensify their collective and individual court actions against the speaker of parliament, the public protector and all other institutions attempting to suppress parliament’s constitutional obligations to hold the executive and parliament accountable.

Phala Phala, or Farmgate, as it is now commonly referred to, came to light when former spy boss Arthur Fraser accused Ramaphosa of concealing what happened after millions of dollars in foreign currency was allegedly stolen from his farm instead of reporting the matter to the police.

Fraser accused the president of having unlawfully instructed the head of the presidential protection unit Wally Rhoode to investigate the theft.

–TimesLive

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