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Sadtu sticks to its guns over Phala Phala calling for probe on judges, despite public outcry

Sadtu sticks to its guns over Phala Phala calling for probe on judges, despite public outcry

Johannesburg – The national executive committee (NEC) of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has called for a full probe into the conduct of two of the judges on the independent panel set up to investigate the possible misconduct by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Retired chief justice Sandile Ngcobo and former high court judge Thokozile Masipa were part of the Independent Panel which found there was a prima facie case of misconduct against the president.

The panel provided a preliminary report for Parliament on the Phala Phala farm scandal.

Speaking to IOL on Monday, Sadtu’s spokesperson, Nomusa Cembi, said the teacher’s union stands by their view of the two judges being investigated.

She said the public has every right to have their own opinion on their statement but that cannot change how they feel about the independent panel of judges.

The NEC of the educators’ union believed that the report was based on hearsay, unverified information and untested facts.

“The report of the panel reflects that the panel failed to discharge this responsibility,” it said.

The NEC claimed that the review of the report revealed that it was fundamentally flawed.

It maintained that the panel and its members made findings based on hearsay evidence in circumstances where the hearsay evidence is wholly inadmissible and the rules applicable were not observed.

“The panel and its members based their findings and conclusions on hearsay, unverified information, and untested facts aware of the adverse implications of relying on such information and with the full knowledge that information of that nature cannot be relied upon to reach such far-reaching conclusions.

“The panel in its report acknowledged the risks associated with acting on such information but nevertheless proceeded to make far-reaching conclusions,” Sadtu said.

According to the panel’s report, which found Ramaphosa had a prima facie case to answer on:

– A serious violation of Section 96(2)(a).

– A serious violation of Section 34(1) of Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA).

– A serious misconduct in that the president violated Section 96(2)(b) by acting in a way that is inconsistent with his office.

– A serious misconduct in that the president violated Section 96(2)(b) by exposing himself to a situation involving a conflict between his official responsibilities and his private business.

Sadtu stood by its view that the two judges misled Parliament and the public that Section 34(1) of the PRECCA was applicable in the matter of the complaint against the president when the section was in fact not applicable.

It said the judges were grossly negligent in the performance of their duties because they have contravened various sections of the code and are liable to be held accountable for the contraventions.

"In terms of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the two judges are required to always act in compliance with the law (Article 6); always act in a manner which is compatible with judicial office (Article 17(3); always behave in their professional or private life in a manner that enhances public trust in, or respect for the judiciary and the judicial system (Article 5); take all reasonable steps to maintain the necessary level of professional competence in the law (Article 10(1)(i),“ said the NEC.

Sadtu made it clear that they fully support the Phala Phala investigations but detest the abuse of the parliamentary process to settle political scores in the name of accountability.

kamogelo.moichela@inl.co.za

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