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Ramaphosa not off the hook on Phala Phala, says ANC RET faction

This despite ANC NEC clearing the president and instructing party MPs to vote against motion for impeachment inquiry

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa survived a heated NEC meeting this week. File photo
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa survived a heated NEC meeting this week. File photo
Image: Esa Alexander

They may have been defeated by his supporters at the ANC NEC’s meeting on Monday over Phala Phala, but President Cyril Ramaphosa’s detractors in the party say the matter will continue to “hurt” the governing party.

Ramaphosa’s opponents in the ANC on Tuesday indicated that their focus was now shifting towards the party’s national conference due to take place from next Thursday, where they would continue their bid to oust him while tackling him over Phala Phala after conference, whether he wins or not.

"The NEC has taken a stand on the Phala Phala matter on how to proceed in Parliament - as much as we wanted the president to be held accountable in that platform, dragging this will only hurt the ANC.

"The focus now is on the upcoming conference, an election where we are working on making sure he doesn't come back as a leader, Phala Phala we will deal with after the conference," an NEC insider said.

This comes after the ANC NEC resolved on Monday to allow Ramaphosa to take the section 89 panel report on Phala Phala on judicial review.

The report has found that Ramaphosa may have an impeachable case to answer. The National Assembly is only due to vote on the Phala Phala report next Tuesday, after it was postponed from December 6.

LISTEN | Phala phala report and its significance

The ANC NEC has resolved that all of the party's 230 MPs, including those who are known  to not support him, should vote against the establishment of an impeachment inquiry.

An ANC national working committee member sympathetic to Ramaphosa said the decision to side with the president was not taken in haste or lightly.

"The debate was that the report was ok procedurally (may be flawed) but our take and line of march to MPs was informed by the fact that there were major limitations acknowledged by the panel, we all agreed on that.

"The report was based on limited information, but that seeks to say he must be impeached despite the panel conceding that they do not have the whole picture, it’s possible that if they had all the facts they would have come at a different conclusion," the NWC member said.

But Ramaphosa’s opponents insists that the NEC decision was rushed deliberately to arrive at a predetermined outcome.

They fingered national chairperson Gwede Mantashe and acting secretary-general Paul Mashatile for ending the meeting “abruptly” to stifle divergent views.

One senior NEC member said: “Gwede and Paul cut off more than 10 speakers, closed the meeting and suppressed objections and caused chaos.”

Another one concurred, saying the manner the meeting was ended “is not sustainable because some of us can raise these issues again in the next NEC meeting.

“You cannot suppress debate like that and go out there confidently expressing victory for the president when the matter was not ventilated properly.”

Those in Ramaphosa’s camp said complaining after a resolution has been taken because “the principle of democratic centralism says once a decision is taken, it binds all of us, including those who did not agree with it”.

The NEC mole said in any event, after the presentation of the NWC report to the NEC, it became clear to most members, even those who had previously called for Ramaphosa to step down, that they had no leg to stand on.

"The President has a right to review the report, we established that with the Zondo commission, but the review does not stop Parliament from continuing - that's where the decision of the NEC that MPs do not adopt the report and therefore it can't be referred to the impeachment committee comes from," said the insider.

While the picture painted by members of the NEC who spoke to TimesLIVE suggests consensus - other members were open about tensions during the discussions.

"Nobody says there are no flaws in the report now - I wouldn't characterise any debate at the NEC meeting as a threat to the President because it was just a few people who are struggling to contest him in conference, trying to contest him via backdoor," another NEC member said.

LISTEN | If Ramaphosa is re-elected, SA may have foot the Phala phala legal bills


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