Final Phala Phala report handed to Parliament, Ngcobo says it was done without fear or favour

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  • The Section 89 panel probing the Phala Phala matter has handed over its investigative report to Parliament.
  • National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that the report would be available late on Wednesday.
  • Secretary to Parliament Xolile George says the panel had an estimated budget of R5.3 million. This included logistics and allowances.

The independent panel probing the Phala Phala matter conducted its work without fear or prejudice, says retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, who chaired the panel.

The much-awaited report was handed over to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday.

Ngcobo said that the panel was required to examine all the information presented to the panel.

"The research that was required was limited, and most of it was done by ourselves. The gist of the research was conducted by ourselves. We required extra time, because when the clock started ticking, we still had to go through information submitted. We were given the information well before hand, we already had a good sense of things. The ATM, UDM, and EFF gave us the information."

Furthermore, Ngcobo said the matter was serious and that was why they had asked for more time to compile the report.

He described the process as "complex" and reiterated that the report "was done, without fear and prejudice".

Mapisa-Nqakula said the panel's work marked a milestone in South Africa's maturing constitutional democracy.

She said:

Indeed, the involvement of political parties in the constitution of the panel forms an essential element of checks and balances to jealously guard its independence, to remove any perception of bias, so that the integrity of its outcome is not brought into question.

She added that the National Assembly would have the final say on the report.

Secretary to Parliament Xolile George said the panel had an estimated budget of R5.3 million. This included logistics and allowances.

The Phala Phala saga became a burning issue in June, after the former director-general of the State Security Agency, Arthur Fraser, opened a kidnapping and money laundering case against President Cyril Ramaphosa, the head of the Presidential Protection Unit, Major-General Wally Rhoode, and Crime Intelligence members.

Fraser alleged they had concealed a burglary at Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm in February 2020.

READ | No worries: Ramaphosa chairs Cabinet meeting, as Parliament prepares to receive Phala Phala report

Ramaphosa has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

According to Fraser's affidavit, Ramaphosa had at least $4 million in cash stashed in a couch on the game farm and had played a part in covering it up after an alleged illegal investigation.

Mapisa-Nqakula appointed the Section 89 inquiry panel following a motion by ATM leader Vuyolwethu Zungula for Ramaphosa's removal on the grounds of "a serious violation of the Constitution or the law and serious misconduct".

The panel was scheduled to complete its work earlier this month, but Mapisa-Nqakula extended the deadline to Wednesday.

The panel probed whether Ramaphosa violated Section 96 (2)(a), read with Section 83 (b) of the Constitution. And if he violated Section 34(1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004.

The report was due weeks ago, but the panel requested an extension, which Mapisa-Nqakula granted.

Parliament will debate the report on 6 December, a week before the ANC's elective conference starts at Nasrec in Johannesburg.

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