Note to Editors: The following Declaration was delivered by DA Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen, in the National Assembly today ahead of a vote to establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of misconduct against President Cyril Ramaphosa around the theft at his Phala Phala farm.
Today is the last chance that this Parliament has to do the right thing on the Phala Phala matter.
The ANC has already used the tyranny of majority in this House to squash the section 89 report, and this was done for no other reason other than the fact that the report contained truths that were inconvenient for the ANC and inconvenient for President Ramaphosa.
It is worth recounting today what those findings of a retired chief justice, a retired high court judge, and a respected advocate were:
They found that the president had a prima facie case to answer in that he may have committed:
• a serious violation of section 96 of the Constitution;
• a serious violation of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act;
• serious misconduct, in that the President acted in a way that is inconsistent with his office; and
• serious misconduct in exposing himself to a situation involving a conflict of interest between his official responsibilities and his private business.
These are extremely serious allegations against any head of state, but particularly against one who rode into office with a promise to end the corruption and abuse of what he termed the “nine wasted years” that had preceded him.
The rehearsed refrain parroted by all the ANC speakers on the day that the inconvenient truth, of the independent panel report, was swept under the carpet, was that the President was going “to set aside the report in the Constitutional Court”.
We now know that this attempt fizzled and failed, as the Constitutional Court unanimously dismissed the application for direct access.
But we have seen this all before.
When Justice Raymond Zondo wrote his final report on State Capture, he reserved his harshest words for the sell-outs in Parliament who trampled their oath of office in service of a corrupt president and his cabinet.
“Never again,” we were told, would Parliament be disempowered, as it was in those dark days.
And yet, here we are again. What has really changed?
Then it was Nkandla. Now it’s Phala Phala.
Then it was fire pools and cattle kraals. Now its couches stuffed with dollars.
Then it was President Jacob Zuma. Now it’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.
But it is the exact same modus operandi: as long as you have the numbers in Parliament, you can make any scandal go away.
Today the ANC speakers are going to try and keep their callous charade alive.
They are going to say that the Public Protector has “cleared” the President, when they know that a final report is still awaited.
They are going to say we must wait for that final report, when they know that the Nkandla judgement set out clearly that Parliament must do its job even while others do theirs.
They are going to say there is no need for an ad-hoc committee, when they know full well that the independent panel and the Public Protector did not have access to the full powers of subpoena of persons and documents that an ad hoc committee would.
But we know the truth.
And that truth is that only an ad-hoc committee with the powers granted in terms of the rules, and set out in rule 167, can get to the bottom of how those dirty dollars unlawfully entered the country.
How those dirty dollars ended up stuffed into a couch in the president’s private home.
Why the theft of the dirty dollars was never properly reported, and
Why the publicly-funded presidential protection unit responsible for protecting Mr. Ramaphosa the president, was unlawfully used to recover the dirty dollars of Mr. Ramaphosa the businessman.
So, I urge fellow members of this house to think very carefully about how they vote today, because just as it happened in:
The ANC Sarafina Scandal,
The ANC Virodene Scandal,
The ANC Arms Deal Scandal,
The ANC Waterkloof Landing Scandal,
The ANC Nkandla Scandal,
The ANC Prasa Scandal,
The ANC State Capture Scandal,
the truth will out on Phala Phala no matter how hard the ANC tries to hold back the tide. And yes, there will come a day of reckoning for each member of this House to yet again account for what you did when your name was called today. So, I urge you to support this motion today.
But at the end of the day, the one thing that every South African must remember is this:
An innocent man should never be afraid of the truth. And an innocent President should never be afraid of Parliament.