Cape Town – EFF Member of Parliament Busisiwe Mkhwebane used her first parliamentary question to Deputy President Paul Mashatile to criticise the justice system for not taking action against President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mkhwebane claimed that the system’s failure to act on the Phala Phala farm burglary case, despite clearance from the South African Reserve Bank, South African Revenue Service, and the Public Protector, showed the weakness in the ANC’s fight against corruption.
“The ANC government’s stance on fighting any crime, including violent crime, shows that the ANC government wants to be seen as committed to fighting crime. However, the panel report does show that the weakness in fighting crime is in the ANC in all spheres.
“It is disappointing that, to combat crime, including corruption and money laundering, instances like the Phala Phala Farm scandal involving concealed cash and potential tax evasion, the SARB, Sars and the PPSA have all found in favour of the president.
“The only person committed to dealing with this was removed from the system, so this is a challenge because it shows that there is rot from the head. Why does the justice system fail or appear to fail to act against the president?,” The Citizen quoted Mkhwebane as saying.
In response, Mashatile emphasised the need to respect law enforcement agencies’ conclusions and rejected Mkhwebane’s suggestion that the justice system favoured Ramaphosa.
The ongoing investigation involves arrests in connection with the theft of $580 000 from the Phala Phala farm.
“Let me put it differently, honourable Mkhwebane; the law does not have eyes. When the law is implemented, it does not look and say, ‘This one is the president; let’s treat him differently’.
“You will recall that right from the beginning with the allegations of Phala Phala, the president himself said, ‘I subject myself to the processes of the law. Let those agencies that are being tasked to do the task, let them be allowed to do it. Let them investigate; let’s give them their space’, Mashatile said, according to IOL.
He emphasised the importance of respecting the work of law enforcement agencies and accepting their reports, even if the outcomes were not as anticipated.
Mashatile called for a commitment to acknowledging and appreciating the professionalism of those tasked with investigations.
He expressed confidence in the country’s law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system, affirming that they will address allegations, including those of tax evasion, impartially and without bias.
“There is no favouritism in the criminal justice system, whether you are president, deputy president, minister, or advocate. The law is the same for all of us,” said Mashatile.
Compiled by Betha Madhomu