By Staff Reporters

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s hopes for a second term as South Africa’s leader looks deem.
The first citizen’s woes are steering this ambition deeper and deeper into murkier waters as he fends off multiple threats. It even looks unlikely for the ANC leader to stay in power until his party’s December national elective conference. The spanner in the works came from a damning affidavit by former State Security Agency and correctional services boss, Arthur Fraser, who has opened a criminal case against Ramaphosa in June. Fraser’s charges emanated from a theft of over four million US dollars, which were concealed within Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in Limpopo. It doesn’t end there, with supporting evidence, including photographs, bank accounts, video footage and names, Fraser alleges the President’s involvement in kidnapping of suspects and their interrogation, use of state resources and even cross-border raids. Ramaphosa has tried to shake the saga off for the past three months to no avail. If anything, like a wild inferno, it has attracted a chorus from opposition parties, factions within the ANC and some civil society organisations, all of whom have thrown their weight behind the call for Ramaphosa to resign or face impeachment. As a precursor to this epic battle, there is a showdown between the President and suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. On 9 September, the Western Cape High Court declared the President’s suspension of the Public Protector invalid. But the Democratic Alliance (DA) immediately filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court, putting Mkhwebane’s return to office on ice. A full Bench of the Western Cape High Court – comprising Judges Lister Nuku, Matthew Francis and James Lekhuleni – had found that Ramaphosa had been conflicted when he made the decision to suspend Mkhwebane.
They found he was tainted by bias when he suspended the Public Protector and might have been “retaliatory” as it had come a day after Ramaphosa had been sent questions by Mkhwebane regarding a break-in and theft of cash from his Phala Phala farm. Mkhwebane’s legal representatives, Seanego Attorneys, have since approached the Western Cape High Court seeking the order be enforced regardless of appeals or challenges. Mkhwebane has accused the DA of attempting to “prevent me from resuming my duties”. Among those supporting the suspended PP, the ATM and the EFF have accused the DA of “abusing the courts” and “to frustrate” Mkhwebane’s reinstatement.
Meanwhile, Mkhwebane’s parliamentary Section 194 committee on impeachment hearing continues.
While all this plays itself out, the committee is fine-tuning its rules for the removal of the President.
These rules will be tested for the first time as the institution embarks on a process to ascertain whether a motion to impeach Ramaphosa passes muster. Parliament has announced at the beginning of September that National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has referred a proposed Section 89 motion by the ATM’s Vuyo Zungula to a yet-to-be convened independent panel of experts to assess whether sufficient evidence exists to show Ramaphosa committed any of the violations specified in the motion.
The new rules that give effect to the Section 89 removal of the President were adopted in November 2018 after the Constitutional Court ruled in 2017 that the National Assembly must put in place procedures to give effect to that section of the Constitution. This section in the Constitution provides for the National Assembly to remove a president from office on the grounds of a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct and an inability to perform the functions of office. Previously, such motions went to the house for debate and were treated no differently to the motion of no confidence provided for in Section 102 of the Constitution.

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