Helen Zille flip flops on Phala Phala, says party will protect Ramaphosa from impeachment

John Steenhuisen previously claimed the ANC wanted a coalition with EFF for protection over Phala Phala scandal

18 June 2024 - 17:22
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DA federal council leader chairperson Helen Zille in the spotlight.
DA federal council leader chairperson Helen Zille in the spotlight.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

DA federal chairperson Helen Zille says the party will protect President Cyril Ramaphosa should there be an impeachment motion related to the Phala Phala scandal, contradicting the party's campaign slogan.

The DA has in the past called for Ramaphosa's axing following the Phala Phala scandal.

It was one of the parties that voted for Ramaphosa to face an impeachment after a section 89 panel report found he may have a case to answer. 

The DA leader indicated a change of tune against Ramaphosa during a recent interview. This came after the EFF tabled a motion to invoke an impeachment process against Ramaphosa during parliament’s first sitting on Friday.  

Zille said the DA will not support a motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa, adding this was part of the GNU agreement.

"We will only support the impeachment if the evidence suggests that there should be an impeachment,” Zille said in a recent interview.

“If any evidence emerges of criminal wrongdoing or something like that, we will have to look at the issues and deal with them inside the government of national unity. We cannot be held hostage; we have voted for Cyril Ramaphosa, and we have agreed that we won't make the government unstable by votes of no confidence in each other all the time.” 

Weeks before the DA committed to the GNU, its leader John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa committed “treason” over the Phala Phala scandal.

He committed treason against our flag when he stuffed thousands of undeclared American dollars into his Phala Phala couch,” he said in his speech before elections.

Steenhuisen claimed that an ANC, EFF and MK Party would protect Ramaphosa.

“The people of South Africa know that the ANC is planning to form a doomsday coalition with the looters in the EFF and MK after the election, because this is the only way ANC leaders will stay out of jail. Ramaphosa himself — who has never been properly held to account for the Phala Phala scandal — knows that he will require protection from fellow looters in parties like the EFF after the election.

“He knows full well that a new government anchored by the DA, will lock up all ANC cadres for the unspeakable crimes they have committed against the people of South Africa,” he said.

Last year, the DA criticised public protector Adv Kholeka Gcaleka’s report exonerating Ramaphosa of any wrongdoing, calling for the report to be reviewed and set aside. 

“Gcaleka’s report on allegations of a violation of the executive members ethics act by Ramaphosa pertaining to a theft at his farm at Phala Phala delivered earlier today, was nothing more than a whitewash of the entire sordid Phala Phala scandal,” Steenhuisen said at the time.

“By burying the merits of this investigation in legal jargon and semantics and contorting the law in her interpretation of both the executive members’ ethics act and the constitution, she has attempted to paint Ramaphosa as nothing more than an innocent bystander. This report could only be described as a pro-Ramaphosa public relations exercise.”

DA's shift on Phala Phala has sparked varied reactions on social media, where many expressed surprise and discontent.

One of the DA's prominent former MPs, Phumzile van Damme, remarked: “Sometimes you need to let your opponent proclaim victory. Play small, play dumb. Let them gloat themselves into a corner. Here, a corner of no return, and tis’: Checkmate, Ramaphosa.”

Van Damme also criticised the DA’s handling of the GNU announcement.

“The DA needed to very carefully manage how it communicates this coalition from the get-go instead of its knee-jerk instinct to gloat, claim victory and act like the smartest in the room. It’s too late. 

“The ANC has nothing to lose. The DA, on the other hand, has everything to lose and it has already lost its core brand proposition: we are not the ANC,” she said.

Many South Africans have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the DA’s surprising change of stance:


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