South Africa: I Will Not Be Distracted From My Work - Ramaphosa On Public Protector Report Against Him

President Cyril Ramaphosa at a Mandela Day event at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Rondebosch, Cape Town.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed not to allow Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings to distract him from his work.

Ramaphosa held a media briefing on Sunday evening to announce he was seeking an urgent judicial review of her report, its findings and remedial action.

On Friday, Mkhwebane found Ramaphosa had violated the executive code of ethics by not declaring donations to his presidential campaign in 2017.

She also found the statesmen had deliberately misled Parliament when he responded to a question about the R500 000 donation from former Bosasa boss Gavin Watson in the National Assembly.

During the short media briefing, the president said it was appropriate that the matter be placed before the courts and that the courts be allowed to make a determination.

"In the meantime, we continue with the urgent and critical tasks required to grow our economy, mobilise investment, create jobs and reduce poverty. We will not be distracted from the great responsibility we have to advance the interests and needs of the South African people."

Ramaphosa said both he and Mkhwebane were not above the law, adding the Public Protector was "equally bound by the law and, like the president, is answerable to the provisions of the Constitution".

Questions around Ramaphosa and his links to Bosasa (now known as African Global Operations) arose when he was confronted by DA leader Mmusi Maimane with a signed affidavit by the company's former auditor, Peet Venter, which revealed that a R500 000 payment was made to an attorney's trust account, called EFG2, in October 2017.

Venter's affidavit stated the payment was for the Andile Ramaphosa Foundation, but no such foundation exists.

Ramaphosa responded in the National Assembly, saying he was aware his son was in business with AGO and the payment formed part of the contract.But later that week, the president wrote a letter to then-speaker Baleka Mbete correcting his reply to Maimane, saying the R500 000 was in fact a donation to his CR17 campaign.

"He deliberately misled Parliament, in that he should have allowed himself sufficient time to research a well-informed response," Mkhwebane said.

She also found Ramaphosa had violated the executive ethics code in that he had exposed himself to a situation involving the risk of conflict between himself and his son through businesses owned by AGO.

In her remedial action, Mkhwebane demanded the publication of all donations received by Ramaphosa because he was the deputy president then and was thus bound to declare such financial interests.

She said this should be done within 30 days of receipt of her report.

Mkhwebane asked National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to refer Ramaphosa's violations to the joint committee of ethics and members' interests for consideration.

Ramaphosa, in his submissions to Mkhwebane before the report was released publically, strongly defended his stance, saying her probe into his CR17 campaign was "unlawful" and out of her jurisdiction.

Source: News24

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