For crises sake: ANC NEC meeting to discuss Eskom derailed by Phala Phala farm theft saga

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President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe seen during the ANC NEC meeting.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe seen during the ANC NEC meeting.
PHOTO: Esa Alexander, Gallo Images, Sowetan
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has repeated his commitment to appear before the ANC's integrity commission despite not setting a date.
  • This came after some NEC members on Sunday questioned why he had until now failed to present himself to the commission to clear his name.
  • An NEC meeting has been held to discuss, among other things, the Eskom crisis that has seen the nation being plunged into Stage 6 load shedding.

Some ANC national executive committee (NEC) members are not convinced of President Cyril Ramaphosa's willingness to present himself before the party's integrity commission over the Phala Phala farm theft saga.

News24 understands that an NEC meeting called over the weekend to, among other things, discuss the Eskom crisis, was used by some NEC members to question Ramaphosa's commitment to present himself before the party's integrity committee.

READ | Ramaphosa mum on Phala Phala in affidavit fending off Mkhwebane's bid to reverse removal

An NEC member told News24 that some members confronted Ramaphosa, saying he was not prioritising the Phala Phala farm theft and the allegations against him.

"The meeting was called to, among other things, discuss the Eskom crisis, but NEC members who believe the president is not taking the matter seriously questioned why he had chosen to attend the G7 summit and the 7th Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Summit, instead of prioritising and presenting himself before the [ANC integrity] commission and dealing with the Eskom crisis," the NEC member said.

The NEC member added:

The president was urged to present himself to the integrity commission as a matter of urgency.

Another NEC member said Ramaphosa had to reiterate his commitment to presenting himself before the integrity commission and added that the delays were not as a result of him avoiding the commission.

Speaking to News24 on Monday morning, ANC presidency head Sibongile Besani said it was not true that Ramaphosa had prioritised other engagements and wouldn't meet the party's integrity commission to clear his name.

"The president has been willing and is still willing to present himself before the committee. What happened last week was that not all the members of the committee were available, hence the meeting had to be rescheduled.

"No date has yet been set, but Ramaphosa is willing to present himself before the committee," said Besani.

READ | Ramaphosa mum on Phala Phala in affidavit fending off Mkhwebane's bid to reverse removal

At the end of June, just after former spy boss Arthur Fraser blew the whistle on an apparent cover-up of the alleged theft at Ramaphosa's Phala Phala farm, the president wrote to the ANC's integrity commission.

He stated that he would be available to appear before it that week, but due to the unavailability of some members of the panel, the meeting had to be postponed.

Integrity commission head George Mashamba publicly said the matter was being treated as "urgent", but he felt the full bench of the commission was required to ensure proper accountability. It remains unclear when this will happen.

Ramaphosa is accused of violating the Executive Members' Ethics Code by not reporting the robbery at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo in 2020. The former spy boss claimed that burglars had stolen large sums of US dollars from the president's farm, which led to the unlawful repatriation of the criminals and their alleged torture.

A case has been opened with the police, while the Public Protector is also looking into the matter.

With regard to discussions about the Eskom crisis, the NEC is understood to be in favour of cutting red tape relating to the connection of new power generation to the grid.

"There was consensus in that we need emergency powers to bypass existing regulations allowing independent producers using solar and wind to be connected to the grid faster," said an NEC member.

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