Ramaphosa gets free pass on Phala Phala forex farm theft as Parliament ‘enters the twilight zone’

Having said he was ready to account — just not quite yet in Parliament — for the Phala Phala farm forex theft, President Cyril Ramaphosa thought he was done. However, the opposition insisted on a proper answer and the Speaker ultimately called time on an unfinished Q&A session.
When National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula cited the precedent of a previous incomplete question and answer session, it was with reference to the August 2014 “Pay back the money” Q&A with then president Jacob Zuma.
That’s a similarity unlikely to sit easily with President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has styled his administration as one eradicating corruption and State Capture and upholding the rule of law and constitutional values.
But the February 2020 theft of US dollars stuffed into sofa cushions on his private Limpopo farm to which South Africa was alerted when ex-spy boss and Zuma ally Arthur Fraser reported it to the police in June, has cast a long shadow.
Ramaphosa has confirmed the theft, but has remained schtum on details, citing due process.
That was the case after a bruising Presidency Budget vote debate in June and again some two weeks later during a Q&A slot. And again on Tuesday, when the Phala Phala saga made the Order Paper as a question from African Transformation Movement (ATM) leader Vuyolwethu Zungula, who’s also motivated the current Section 89 impeachment inquiry process.
“I stand ready to cooperate and also to give an explanation and to cooperate with any investigations on this matter. I have responded to the various questions that have been raised and will continue to respond to the questions put to me by the relevant authorities,” Ramaphosa told MPs on Tuesday.
“The authorities have said it’s best they deal with all the attendant matters to the theft that occurred on the farm. I have been counselled and advised to address this matter when these processes have been done. I stand ready to take the nation into confidence.”
Just not now. And not to Parliament. That was the upshot of Ramaphosa’s scripted response to the question that had been submitted, in line with the rules, at least 16 calendar days earlier.
Or as EFF leader Julius Malema put it: “He said he can answer everyone else. And someone stands up to say he’s answered like they did in the Zuma era.”
It was a reference to ANC MP and Deputy Rural Development Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha, who just before him, said: “Sitting here, ...