Johannesburg – The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to take the Section 89 report into the Phala Phala dollar scandal to the Constitutional Court for review.
The president wasted no time in rushing to the Constitutional Court to challenge the report. It has come as a surprise to some that Ramaphosa went straight to the Constitutional Court, skipping the lower courts.
In a statement, the ATM said it saw this move as an attack on Parliament’s oversight role. The party’s president, Vuyo Zungula, said the move was a clear indication that Ramaphosa was trying to tip the scales of justice to his side.
“For us, as the ATM, the issue of the president going to court is just an issue of him being dishonest because he has violated the laws of this country. In fact, by extension, when you are talking about a selfish individual, you are talking about a power-mongering person who only wants to serve his interests,” Zungula said.
Zungula said the ATM would be opposing the matter in court as the fifth respondent. He said Ramaphosa had other paid work through selling game, which was a violation of the code of ethics.
Meanwhile, the ATM said it welcomed the decision to delay parliamentary proceedings that would see members of parliament voting to adopt the Section 89 report.
Parliament had delayed the sitting to ensure that members of Parliament would be able to attend in person.
“In the absence of a secret ballot as a mechanism to safeguard this democracy and the lives and the livelihoods, this is the least that could be done to ensure that Mr Ramaphosa accounts for his serious violations of the constitution,” Zungula said.
The party appealed for all members of Parliament to vote with their conscience and not according to instructions. This comes after it emerged that ANC members were told to toe the line and vote according to party instructions.
On the other hand, it seems that Cosatu, an ANC affiliate, is divided on its views on the Section 89 report. The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) had pronounced a rejection of the report by the panel of legal experts, going as far as calling for the investigation of the panellists for incorrect findings.
But on Tuesday, Cosatu said it would allow the ANC and parliament to handle the matter before taking a position. The federation had also said it would await the president’s response on the matter.