South Africa: Presidency Welcomes Scathing Judgment Against Public Protector

Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane (file photo).

The Presidency has welcomed the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruling setting aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's CR17 report on political donations.

In a statement released shortly after the judgment on Tuesday, Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said the office reaffirmed its commitment to honest and effective government.

"The court reaffirmed the assertion that there was no factual basis for the Public Protector's findings that the president misled Parliament in relation to a donation made to the CR17 campaign from Mr Gavin Watson of Africa Global Operations [previously Bosasa]," she said.

Diko added that the court had further found that Mkhwebane had no jurisdiction to investigate the CR17 campaign, that Ramaphosa was not obliged to disclose donations received by his campaign, and that she had no foundation in fact and law to arrive at the conclusion that Ramaphosa had involved himself in unlawful activities.

The report followed an investigation by Mkhwebane, which was initiated after two complaints from opposition party leaders - former DA leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu.

On 8 November 2018, Maimane asked Ramaphosa about a R500 000 payment which was believed to have been made to his son, Andile, by corruption-accused company Bosasa, News24 reported at the time.

Ramaphosa responded that he was aware of his son's contract with Bosasa and that he had been assured that it was above board.

A week later, Ramaphosa addressed a letter to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise when he was alerted that the bank account in question, named by Maimane and contained in an affidavit by former Bosasa auditor Peet Venter, actually belonged to his CR17 campaign.

The court also commented on Mkhwebane's apparent failure to address part of the Shivambu complaint, which called on the Public Protector to determine whether Andile Ramaphosa did, in fact, have a contract with Bosasa.

The court found it strange that Mkhwebane had made no mention of this in her report.

News24 found that Ramaphosa Jr had had a contract with Bosasa, but was not completely honest about the full amount paid to him.

Source: News24

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