The United Democratic Movement (UDM) notes and welcomes the announcement made on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa that he will no longer be challenging the lawfulness and validity of the report of the Independent Panel on Phala Phala which was chaired by Former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.
The legal challenge never had any merit, but was launched to mislead Parliament into believing that the matter was “before the courts” and to coerce the Speaker to disallow the request of the UDM and other political parties for a secret ballot. It was also used to open the way for Ramaphosa to stand for re-election as ANC President at NASREC. In short it was a blatant abuse of the court process to achieve ulterior motives.
The report now stands as a valid document with a finding by independent and very senior legal experts that the President has a case to answer for the serious criminal offence of breaching Section 34 of PRECCA. In this regard it must be remembered that the Independent Panel said at paragraph 242 of its report:
“The seriousness of failure to report is further illustrated by criminalising such fail as well as the heavy penalty imposed for failure to report. Failure to report these offences is an offence in terms of s34(2)(of PRECCA) and the penalty imposed for such failure is provided for in s26(1)(b). If your case is heard by the High Court, you may be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment for ten years…”
The UDM therefore calls upon Advocate Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), to charge Mr Ramaphosa based on the above findings of the Ngcobo Panel which is stronger in calibre than any police investigation would be. Given the seriousness of the matter and the NDPP’s failure to act thus far, she is given until 1 June 2023 to charge Mr Ramaphosa failing which the appropriate court will be approached on an urgent basis to compel her to do so.
Given recent conduct on the part of the NPA in giving public support to Mr Ramaphosa as an accused person in criminal proceedings and its general record of lack of independence, the UDM will be consulting with its legal team even before the deadline.