Cape Town – Former South African president Thabo Mbeki reportedly objected to the African National Congress (ANC)’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting discussing the Phala Phala report without party president, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Friday.
According to News24, Ramaphosa’s absence from the NEC meeting was “met with fierce opposition by some members”, with Mbeki “leading the charge in calling him out”.
Ramaphosa did not attend the NEC meeting at NASREC, south of Johannesburg, as the party’s top leadership discussed matters involving him.
EWN reported that Mbeki, who previously warned the ANC about its lack of preparation to deal with the Phala Phala saga, was cited by several insiders as the voice of reason during Friday’s short meeting.
According to the report, Mbeki was said to have told NEC members that he wanted to look Ramaphosa in the eye when he shared his thoughts on the saga.
There have been calls from various quarters for the president to “step aside” following the damning findings by an independent panel investigating the Phala Phala farm scandal.
The panel revealed in a report released on Wednesday that Ramaphosa may have committed a serious violation of the law and serious misconduct in terms of the constitution.
The three-person panel, led by retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, said it found enough evidence to warrant a parliamentary debate on whether the president should be impeached
Ramaphosa has been under fire since June, when a former spy boss filed a complaint with police, alleging he had concealed the theft of a cash haul at his farm at Phala Phala in northeastern South Africa.
Instead of alerting the authorities, he allegedly organised for the robbers to be kidnapped and bribed into silence. Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing.
“There’s no factual and legal basis for (him to go),” Mathole Motshekga, an ANC lawmaker and Ramaphosa ally, told AFP on Friday.
According to SABC, ANC National Chairperson Gwede Manatshe, who attended Friday’s NEC meeting said the country will be plunged into chaos should the president resign.
Meanwhile, according to to the report, ANC Acting Secretary General Paul Mashatile said the party’s NEC meeting did not discuss whether or not Ramaphosa expressed his intentions to step down or not.
“The president was not in the meeting. He’s busy consulting. As far as we are concerned the issue of the president putting his intention to resign or not didn’t arise. It only now that the officials are going to be meeting with him probably tomorrow if he’s back from Cape Town.
“We decided that the NEC of the ANC should also be given the report of Parliament which comes from the panel, however, the NEC needs wisdom and today decided that they would like that report to be given to the officials of the ANC first. The officials just processed and convene a NWC once it’s done. We will convene the NEC and we should do this before the 6th of December, so between tomorrow and Sunday we will do all that,” the report quoted Mashatile as saying.