Phala Phala report: Ramaphosa comes out smelling like roses

Acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka has cleared President Cyril Ramaphosa of all allegations of wrongdoing related to the theft of foreign currency from his Phala Phala farm.

In a draft report, Gcaleka found that Ramaphosa did not breach any laws or regulations that govern the office he occupies.

On the allegation that Ramaphosa acted in a manner that is inconsistent with his office in dealing with the alleged housebreaking at Phala Phala and exposed himself to any situation involving a risk of a conflict between his constitutional duties and obligations and his private interests, Gcaleka found that this charge “is not substantiated.”

Gcaleka revealed that the Phala Phala farm was managed “by a private entity called Ntaba Nyoni Close Corporation through its own private employees”.

According to Gcaleka, the allegation that Ramaphosa failed to report the crime that took place at Phala Phala farm and abused his power in utilising state resources did not have a leg to stand on as the president was not in the country at the time of the alleged crime.

Furthermore, Gcaleka was satisfied that Ramaphosa did the right thing by reporting the incident to the head of the presidential protection services (PPS) Major-General Wally Rhoode.

“Rhoode confirmed that the president reported the incident to him as a police officer and as the head of PPS, without giving him any specific instructions regarding how he should deal with the matter,” Gcaleka wrote in the interim report that is due for feedback by affected and interested parties before the issuing of the final report.

But the public protector found that Rhoode might not have acted accordingly in his handling of the matter after the president reported to him.

“Evidence tendered before the public protector further reveals that Gen Rhoode did not inform his commanding officer about this crime in line with section 13(2) of the SAPS Act, after the president reported it to him on 10 February and 02 March 2020.

“Further evidence before the public protector reveals that Gen Rhoode assembled his own investigation team and subsequently engaged in an unofficial criminal investigation, which included interviewing suspects, witnesses, and conducting surveillance.”

Accordingly, the report recommends that the national commission of police “ensure that appropriate action is initiated” against Rhoode”.

Affected parties have 10 calendar days to respond.

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