Calland: Panel probing Ramaphosa Phala Phala saga tasked with tricky job

Calland was initially appointed to the parliamentary panel, but withdrew after concerns over his impartiality were raised.

President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in the National Assembly in Parliament in Cape Town on 3 November 2022. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN: Political commentator Richard Calland said it was unsurprising that the section 89 independent panel has asked for more time to consider impeachable accusations against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Calland was initially appointed to the parliamentary panel but withdrew after concerns were raised over his impartiality.

Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday extended the deadline of the panel at the request of its chairperson Justice Sandile Ngcobo due to the enormity of the task.

The panel is analysing whether Ramaphosa should face an impeachment inquiry related to the theft of cash from his Limpopo farm, Phala Phala.

Ngcobo said the panel needed two more weeks to consider the submissions made to it.

Speaking at the Cape Town Press Club on Wednesday at the launch of his new book The Presidents, Calland said the panel’s job was a tricky one.

“Their job is to assess whether there’s sufficient evidence for an impeachment. That is more than prima facie,” he said.

Irrespective of the outcome, Calland said he did not think it would impact Ramaphosa’s presidential ambitions at the African National Congress (ANC)'s elective conference.

“I think he’s covered and clear. It’s dented his integrity or his credibility, generally, but it hasn’t really harmed his prospects because his loyalists are just as loyal as ever before,” he said.

With only weeks to go before Parliament rises for the year, Calland said any outcome on the process before the ANC conference now appeared extremely unlikely.