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Section 89 Independent Panel to report to Phala Phala on Wednesday – SABC News

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The independent panel of experts on Section 89 will hand its report into the alleged conduct of President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday morning.

A three-man panel led by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcoba was assessing whether Ramaphosa had grounds to face constitutional charges over the alleged theft of foreign currency at his Phala Phala farm nearly three years ago.

The group was given a 13-day extension to complete its work by November 30.

The commission’s primary task was to assess a motion by the African Transformation Movement (ATM) that called for Ramaphosa’s removal from office under Section 89 of the Constitution for alleged breach of oath. The party alleged that Ramaphosa covered up the theft of US dollars stored on his farm.

Rule 129 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly establishes the Section 89 Panel. The Rule describes all the processes to be followed when the President is faced with a motion brought by a member of the National Assembly under Section 89 of the Constitution. It was developed following the EFF’s successful Constitutional Court challenge against former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete in December 2017.

The new rule was approved by the Assembly in November 2018. During a debate, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Mbuiseni Ndlozi predicted that President Ramaphosa should be the first president to test the rule. However, Ndlozi was suspended and kicked out of the chamber by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mmatlala Barata.

AUDIO: EFF’s Ndlozi kicked out during debate:

And four years later, the Rule is being tested on the President after ATM boss Vuyo Zungula invoked Rule 129 (A) and Section 89 of the Constitution to demand his removal from office.

Ramaphosa was asked to respond to information provided to ATM, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) on the Phala Phala case. He met a ten-day deadline to submit his responses to the group on November 6. Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed this a day after the November 7 deadline.

“President Ramaphosa has always been confident that throughout his tenure as President he has lived up to his oath of office and set an example of respect for the Constitution, its institutions, due process and the rule of law. President Ramaphosa categorically denies that he has violated this oath in any way and denies that he is guilty of any of the allegations against him,” says Magwenya.

ATM says it is eagerly awaiting the commission’s report.

“And we believe there will be no more requests for extensions, as we said before. We are even more pleased that the Speaker has set a date for this matter to be considered and debated in the House of Representatives. So, as November 30 approaches this week, we firmly believe that the commission has done its job and will not be asking for a further extension. This matter will be discussed and given a clear way forward by the House of Parliament, obviously after taking into account the recommendations of the group, and we believe that all this will be done before the end of the mandate of this Parliament. So, we look forward as an ATM for the group to present to the Speaker’s office and be circulated to all political parties in the National Assembly,” says ATM spokesperson Sibusisa Mnkwabe.

Justice Ngcoba will formally hand over the panel’s report to the Speaker of Parliament on Wednesday morning.

VIDEO: Experts to present report on Phala Phala saga to Parliament on Wednesday

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