Cape Town – The Constitutional Court has turned down President Cyril Ramaphosa’s application to challenge Parliament’s report into Phala Phala, which found that he may have broken anti-corruption laws.
However, News24 reports that the president’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, said yesterday that the ConCourt decision was not “a blow to the president” as it was “a procedural matter concerning the president seeking access to the Constitutional Court”.
“It did not pronounce itself on the merits of the case,” he said.
Ramaphosa had been seeking direct access to the apex court to overturn the findings of the report of an independent Section 89 panel, headed by Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, which had concluded that Ramaphosa might have a case to answer regarding the theft of money from Phala Phala, his Limpopo farm.
The three-person panel was set up in September to probe the alleged cover-up of the theft at Ramaphosa’s farmhouse.
It found enough evidence to warrant a parliamentary debate on whether Ramaphosa should be impeached.
Ramaphosa approached South Africa’s top court on the basis that his application was within its exclusive jurisdiction, according to TimesLIVE.
The president said this was because when the independent panel was conducting its preliminary inquiry, it was fulfilling a constitutional obligation of Parliament, the report stated.
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However, the ConCourt said no case has been made for exclusive jurisdiction, BusinessLIVE reported.
“No case has been made for exclusive jurisdiction or direct access and the main application was dismissed.
“Consequently, the application to intervene falls to be dismissed,” the report quoted the brief judgement.
In December, South African MPs debated whether to initiate proceedings that could force out Ramaphosa over allegations he concealed a huge cash theft at his farm.
The president has maintained his innocence and denied the allegations against him.
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Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe