To seek to condemn him on this basis is unfair especially in light of the rather dubious provenance of the allegations.
Judge John Murphy wrote on Facebook:
There seems to be much confusion about the Phala Phala Report. President Ramaphosa was not charged with corruption. He was not charged with money laundering. He was not charged with exchange control violations. He was not charged with tax evasion. The charges brought by the ATM in its motion in the National Assembly are: 1. He undertook paid work (as a farmer) while holding the office of President. 2. He failed to report corruption by not reporting the theft to the Hawks. 3. He used General Rhoode and the Presidential Protection Unit for private purposes by getting it to investigate an issue related to his private business. 4. He misconducted himself by getting General Rhoode to investigate the theft rather than reporting it to the SAPS.
These are the four charges that form the basis of the report.
Now before a President can be impeached there must be “sufficient evidence” of “serious misconduct”.
The Panel found that there is “prima facie” evidence supporting the four charges and that the alleged misconduct is “serious”.
What we are hearing from informed commentators is that the Panel has erred materially in relation to the first two charges. There is not sufficient evidence establishing that President Ramaphosa did undertake “paid work” in violation of the relevant constitutional provision or that he was under an obligation to report any specific act of corruption of which he was aware. The report does not even mention or describe the alleged act of corruption.
With regard to the other two charges, it is contended that relying on General Rhoode and the Presidential Protection Unit does not amount to “serious misconduct”.
Others have suggested that the Panel erred in reaching its conclusions on the basis of prima facie evidence and not “sufficient evidence”.
My own reading of the report is that these points are certainly arguable and that there is a reasonable prospect that a court may conclude that the Panel has erred and misdirected itself.
In the premises, it is probably premature to call on the President to resign when it seems possible that the findings of the Panel may be set aside.
In so far as many are making claims of corruption, money laundering, exchange controls and tax violations, no such case has been brought against the President and he has not had an opportunity to put up a defence in that regard. To seek to condemn him on this basis is unfair, especially in light of the rather dubious provenance of the allegations.
I trust this post adds a little light to this rather murky matter.