Presidential impeachment process is a necessary test of South Africa’s democratic freedom
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomes the report compiled by the Independent Panel chaired by Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, convened under Section 89 of the Constitution, relating to an enquiry into the impeachment of President Cyril Ramaphosa, on events surrounding a burglary that took place at his farm Phala in February 2020.
The report, which was handed over the report to the Speaker of the National Assembly on 30 November 2022, states the panel found sufficient evidence that the President may have committed a serious violation of the Constitution and serious misconduct, on which grounds for impeachment could be considered, as a result of a conflict between his official responsibilities and his private business.
OUTA believes the parliamentary impeachment process, along with all other investigations being conducted by the SA Reserve Bank (which administers the Exchange Control Regulations and investigates contraventions of the regulations), as well as Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance, the Public Protector and the Hawks, should run their course and accountability should be meted out according to their findings.
Once again, as was the case during President Jacob Zuma’s rule, our nation faces political turmoil and associated economic pressure arising from dubious conduct by people in positions of authority in government. South Africa’s growth and prosperity will once again be compromised, as we navigate the stormy waters that lie ahead, exacerbated by developments of internal factionalism plaguing the ruling party’s run-up to its leadership elections in a few weeks.
Our democracy is fragile and performing well below its full potential, largely as a result of corruption and maladministration within government. For the past 15 years, our Parliament has been found wanting in its role of holding the executive to account, placing party interests ahead of the needs of the people of South Africa and highlighting the urgent need for reform of our electoral system.
OUTA calls on the political powers to exercise extreme caution and maturity in their conduct and actions, as the processes of accountability unfold on the Phala Phala matter. Should the President resign and leadership changes unfold, we trust the process will lead to the selection and appointment of leadership who will galvanise the trust and confidence of the people, to take the nation forward and continue the drive to eradicate corruption and abuse of power.
Whatever the developments and outcomes that lie ahead for the country’s political dynamics, civil society will be called on to defend the valuable gains we have made since the exit of Jacob Zuma from office. The good work and repairs to important institutions of SARS, the NPA, SIU and others must not be allowed to come undone. The public can rest assured that civil society organisations will collaborate and combine their efforts to protect our democracy from the abuse of power.
A soundclip with comment by OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage is here.
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