Phala Phala saga: Public Protector won't release evidence while probe is underway

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  • The Office of the Public Protector says it will not succumb to pressure to release evidence of its investigation into the Phala Phala robbery.
  • A spokesperson says the office is not obligated to publicly share evidence of pending investigations.
  • A group of opposition parties expressed unhappiness with the "concealment" of Ramaphosa's responses.

The Office of the Public Protector says it will not succumb to political pressure to publicly share the evidence it has in the ongoing investigation of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Phala Phala robbery.

Spokesperson, Oupa Segwale, said the office was facing "political pressure" as well as demands to make public its evidence on the matter.

Segwale said these calls not only seek to undermine the institution's independence, but also compromises the integrity of the investigation.  

READ | Ramaphosa appeared before the ANC's integrity commission, says Kodwa

"The PPSA, therefore, views those exerting pressure on the institution to publish the evidence in question, while the investigation is underway, as constituting the interference contemplated in the Constitution and calls upon them to desist from such conduct," said Segwale.

On Wednesday, the African Transformation Movement (ATM), said a "forum of opposition parties" represented in Parliament met to discuss ways to strengthen their resolve to hold Ramaphosa accountable.

It said the group was opposed to the concealment of Ramaphosa's responses to the 31 questions sent by the Public Protector's office.

In a joint statement, the parties, including the DA, UDM and EFF, called on the Office of the Public Protector to urgently, "in line with the law", release the report regarding its Phala Phala investigation.

Segwale cited Section 7(2) of the Public Protector Act, saying it empowers the office to preserve the integrity of its investigation and, therefore, the institution is not legally obliged to publicly release the evidence.

WATCH | Ramaphosa denies money stolen from his farm were proceeds from crime

News24 reported last month that acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka confirmed that Ramaphosa had submitted the responses to questions relating to the Phala Phala investigation. 

The office is investigating ethical concerns related to the alleged robbery - and Ramaphosa's responses are expected to shed light on what he knows.   

Ramaphosa is facing criminal charges emanating from allegations levelled against him by former spy boss Arthur Fraser. Fraser claimed the robbers stole money from Ramaphosa's farm in February 2020.

He also accused the president of concealing the robbery from SARS and law enforcement. He also accused him of possibly abusing state resources to apprehend the robbers. 

Ramaphosa has previously denied involvement in criminal activity and maintained his willingness to cooperate with authorities during the investigation. 

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