Criminal charges against Ramaphosa on hold — Maimane

The DA has already written to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, calling on parliament’s justice committee to hold an investigation into Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office. (David Harrison/M&G)

The DA has already written to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, calling on parliament’s justice committee to hold an investigation into Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office. (David Harrison/M&G)

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says that his party is holding off on laying criminal charges against President Cyril Ramaphosa. But only until after the Public Protector’s report into the president is taken under judicial review.

Maimane was responding to Ramaphosa’s Sunday evening press conference, where the President announced that he would be approaching the courts to review the damning report against him, which was released last week.

The report said Ramaphosa had deliberately misled Parliament when he answered a parliamentary question about a payment received by the CR17 campaign from African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa.

The complaint to the Public Protector was originally laid by Mmusi Maimane.

But the leader of the official opposition told journalists at a briefing in Cape Town that plans to lay criminal charges against the president have been put on hold for now.

“Every citizen needs to be able to ensure their legal rights are protected, so I welcome the President’s decision to challenge the Public Protector’s report. It is still clear that we must get down to whether the President mislead parliament,” said Maimane.

That alleged misleading happened while Ramaphosa was on his way to being elevated to President of the republic.

Maimane said: “This matter goes far beyond what the president said in parliament, and it must be investigated… Bosasa was at the forefront of State Capture. Questions still remain: Why did the President change his statement from one week to the next?”

“The Public Protector’s report is one question, but I think the questions that pertain to the President must still be answered,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DA said Monday’s Constitutional Court judgement—which didn’t overturn a previous High Court finding that she had acted in bad faith, and also said she had fallen “egregiously short” of what was expected of her in investigating ABSA and the Reserve Bank—warrants a parliamentary review into her fitness to hold office is expedited.

South Africa’s highest court found that her actions in the matter warranted the personal costs order that the High Court granted against her.

“(The) court judgment proves that the Public Protector’s failings go much deeper than simple technical errors. Simply put, she is not fit to hold the office she occupies and is in actual fact grossly incompetent,” the DA’s Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said in a statement.

The party has already written to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, calling on parliament’s justice committee to hold an investigation into Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

“A distinction must be drawn between the current incumbent of the office of the Public Protector, and the office itself. Nobody can argue that the current incumbent is by any stretch of the imagination a suitable occupant,” Steenhuisen said.

The justice committee has not yet scheduled a meeting to discuss whether it will go ahead with the probe.

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