Future of embattled Ramaphosa in the spotlight again

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s future will once again come under the spotlight this weekend when the ANC national executive committee (NEC) meets from Friday.

The ruling party’s NEC, which is the organisation’s highest decision-making body between conferences, is expected to receive reports into the state of the organisation and finances.

But it is the party’s integrity commission’s report into the Phala Phala farm robbery that is expected to take centre stage. Last month, the commission’s progress report noted that while the Phala Phala matter had brought the ANC into disrepute, it could not apportion the blame on anyone.

“The issue of Phala Phala, given the continuing intensification of rivalry, especially among the leadership of the ANC, suggests that the NEC may not be able to fairly and honestly reflect on this issues and provide appropriate leadership thereof,” the commission’s progress report said.

The Phala Phala saga has become a proxy in the battle for the control of the ANC ahead of the party’s elective conference, which is starting next weekend.

Ramaphosa came under more fire after the release of the Section 89 independent panel of experts report last week, which concluded that he may have violated the constitution in his handling of the burglary at his farm in February 2020.

The president survived an onslaught from his detractors who wanted him to resign over the report during an NEC meeting that was held on Monday.

It was decided that Ramaphosa would be supported in his decision to take the report on judicial review. He has since launched papers at the Constitutional Court, seeking for the report to be set aside.

On Tuesday next week, parliament’s National Assembly is scheduled to debate and vote on whether to adopt the report. If found to have brought the party into disrepute, the integrity commission will ask Ramaphosa to step aside. However, the president still has an option to appeal the decision.

In its progress report, the commission acknowledged that it did not have any additional information except what is in the public.

The tabling of reports comes as former president Jacob Zuma called on members to not allow Ramaphosa, and the party’s acting secretary-general and treasurer Paul Mashatile to table the political report, organisational report, as well as the financial report.

Speaking in Mandeni in the General Gizenga Mpanza region in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, Zuma tore into both Ramaphosa and Mashatile.

“There is this other one who has two to three positions. He has a very important position of being treasurer-general, but he is also acting in a very serious position of secretary-general. He is also deputy secretary-general.

“Yet he is failing at the position he was elected for. He can’t even pay ANC leaders. Will you allow that one too to deliver reports?” he asked

On Ramaphosa’s ANC presidency, Zuma said: “After all this, as delegates you will go there and listen to him deliver the organisational report? We as branches will allow a person who has admitted to buying that position to address us?”

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