Phala Phala scandal: President Ramaphosa counterattacks in court

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has appealed to the Constitutional Court to overturn a parliamentary report that accuses him of a corruption scandal, the conclusions of which have paved the way for impeachment proceedings against him.
In a document submitted to the supreme court on Monday, the head of state demanded that the report submitted to parliament on Wednesday be “reviewed, declared illegal and not taken into account”, while the report was still being considered by the court.
Embarrassed by this scandal for several months, Mr. Ramaphosa, 70, is accused of having tried to conceal a burglary in one of his properties in 2020, by declaring it neither to the police, nor to the tax authorities. The criminals took $580,000 in cash, hidden under the cushions of a sofa.
An independent commission appointed by parliament and headed by a former president of the Constitutional Court concluded last week that the president “may have committed” acts against the law and the constitution in connection with the case. The report paved the way for impeachment proceedings.
Parliament is meeting Tuesday in a special session on the eve of the summer recess in the southern hemisphere and is expected to vote on whether to launch the process, although the ANC, despite strong divisions, has a comfortable majority in Parliament.
A criminal investigation is also underway. The president has not been charged at this stage.
The affair nearly forced Mr. Ramaphosa to resign before a reversal over the weekend. After several days of uncertainty, his spokesman said the president will fight to stay in office.
Leaders of the historic ruling party, the ANC, met Monday in Johannesburg to discuss the fate of Cyril Ramaphosa.
The ANC will meet on December 16 to designate its next president in 2024, should the increasingly contested party win the legislative elections. The ANC, which has held a majority in parliament since 1994, has been plagued by corruption and factional warfare and has chosen the head of state since the advent of South Africa’s democracy.