Should Ramaphosa be charged, he will gladly step aside, says presidency

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Esa Alexander

The office of President Cyril Ramaphosa has responded to calls for him to step aside, stating he has not been charged for any crime. 

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, briefed the media on Sunday on the president’s public engagements for the week ahead.

“The president has not been charged of any crime,” Magwenya said. 

“There are investigations that are taking place in this regard. The constitutionally-enshrined presumption of innocence until proven guilty remains, so I guess the question is best posed for those who made the call for the president to step aside as to what informs those calls. Should the president be charged, he will gladly step aside ... but as things stand there are no criminal charges against the president. What you have is a series of investigations that he is fully co-operating with, and he will continue to do so until those investigations are concluded.”

Responding to reports of instability in the cabinet, Magwenya said there has been no sense of instability.

“There is a level of co-operation between the president and his cabinet members. There is a necessary cordial working relationship between the president and the rest of his cabinet,” he said, adding this included Ramaphosa's working relationship with tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu. 

Magwenya said Ramaphosa, accompanied by minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pandor and finance minister Enoch Godongwana, will travel to Bali, Indonesia, to participate at the G20 Leaders’ Summit from November 15.

“The G20 Leaders’ Summit will discuss strategic issues and the role of the G20 as part of the solution to a wide range of global challenges including, among others, addressing food and energy insecurity, strengthening the global health architecture and advancing digital transformation,” he said.

Ramaphosa will address two working sessions, the first one focusing on food and energy security.

“In his input, Ramaphosa will call for substantial financial support for countries with developing economies that are most affected by food shortages and the effects of climate change. In this regard, SA will support that addressing food insecurity challenges must be a top G20 priority,” Magwenya said.

South Africa’s strategic objectives at the G20 on energy will be to advance practical co-operation in terms of the G20 voluntary collaboration on energy access with a continuous focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

It will also seek to “ensure the discussion on clean energy takes into account all forms of clean energy such as clean coal technology and nuclear to ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable energy”.

“This is important in the context of the existing SA energy mix policy.”

The country will also seek to “guard against onerous commitments placed on developing countries regarding the phasing out of fossil fuels, which may negatively affect the poor”.

Magwenya said during the second working session, which will focus on health, Ramaphosa will emphasise the urgent need to strengthen the global health architecture to respond quickly and effectively to the next pandemic.

“The president will call for a permanent global co-ordination and governance mechanism that will enable collaboration, priority setting, pooling of resources, technology transfer and the research and development of medical countermeasures.”

Magwenya said Ramaphosa will on November 18 deliver his customary address to the National Council of Provinces’ “Taking parliament to the people” session to in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal. His focus will be on “building agile state capabilities to improve service delivery outcomes”.

Magwenya said Ramaphosa will speak about broader systemic reforms under way.

“A key element of this endeavour is the national framework towards the Implementation of Professionalisation of the Public Sector, which was adopted by cabinet on October 19. The framework makes specific proposals to stabilise the political-administrative interface, ensure merit-based recruitment and selection and more effective consequence management. In this regard, all public sector legislation governing professionalisation will be reviewed and where necessary amended to align with this framework,” he said

He said the government has produced a “just energy transition investment plan” that calculates that SA will need about R1.5-trillion over the next five years to meet these goals.

“This money will need to come from various sources, including the funding that industrialised countries have promised to developing countries and from commercial financial institutions. At the UN climate change summit last year, France, Germany, the UK, US and the EU pledged around R140bn to support the just transition. An initial amount of R10.7bn has been received in low-interest loans from Germany and France.”

Magwenya said while SA welcomes low-interest (or concessional) loans, a substantial portion of this funding needs to be in the form of grants.


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