The Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) says it will invoke its subpoena powers on President Cyril Ramaphosa after he missed an 18 July deadline to respond to questions linked to the alleged burglary coverup at his Phala Phala farm.
Suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane initially asked Ramaphosa to respond to the questions by 7 June 2022. However, he requested for an extension until 18 July and the Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka granted the request.
Further extension denied
“A request for a further extension has instead been filed. The request for a further extension has been denied and was communicated to the President on July 18, 2022,” the Public Protector’s office said in a statement on Tuesday (19 July).
“The PPSA will therefore be invoking its subpoena powers in line with section 7(4) (a) of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994, read with section 5 thereof.
“Section 7(4) (a) provides that: ‘For the purposes of conducting an investigation the Public Protector may direct any person to submit an affidavit or affirmed declaration or to appear before him or her to give evidence or to provide any document in his or her possession or under his or her control which has a bearing on a matter being investigated, and may examine such person.'”
The PPSA assured South Africans that the matter “remains ongoing” and that “other investigative tools and methods are being employed to establish the veracity of the allegations that gave rise to the investigation.”
Executive Code of Ethics
The investigation into whether or not Ramaphosa violated the Executive Code of Ethics in the alleged coverup arose from a complaint filed by the African Transformation Movement (ATM).
The complaint followed criminal charges filed against the President by former State Security Agency (SSA) Director-General Arthur Fraser in June.
Fraser accused the President of bribery and kidnapping of the suspects in the February 2020 burglary, as well as money laundering related to the large sum of money stolen from the farm, alleged to be $4 million. Ramaphosa has denied involvement in criminal conduct, insisting that the money is “far less” than the alleged amount and that it was the proceeds of legitimate transactions.
In an address at the South African Communist Party’s national congress last week, Ramaphosa suggested that the allegations against him are politically motivated.
“The allegations contained in the complaint are serious and it is only correct that they be thoroughly investigated and that the due legal process be allowed to take its course without interference,” he said.
“As we emerge from the era of state capture, we must be firm on the principle that no person is above the law and that every person, regardless of the position they occupy, must be held accountable for their actions. I have pledged my full cooperation to any investigation of this complaint. I am prepared to be held accountable.
“But I will not allow these allegations to deter me from what needs to be done to rebuild our economy. I will not allow this to deter me, to discourage me from the work that I have to do. I will not be intimidated, nor distracted, nor bullied into submission.”