Cape Town – The Constitutional Court is on Thursday expected to hand down judgment in the case relating to whether the Office of the Public Protector have the scope to investigate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2017 CR17 ANC campaign and related bank statements for the campaign.
The court said the judgment would be handed down at 10am and would give a ruling on whether Ramaphosa misled Parliament in relation to donations made to the CR17 campaign, and if the public protector had the scope to investigate the campaign.
In compliance with Covid-19 regulations, the ConCourt said that court attendance would be limited to 20 people, including the public and the media.
Last year, Gauteng Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba heard the matter on the unsealing of the CR17 documents following an application by the EFF.
(1/2) Judgment on Thursday, 1 July at 10h00: Did the President mislead Parliament in relation to the donations made to the CR17 campaign? Did the Public Protector have the scope to investigate the CR17 Campaign? (Public Protector and others v President of the RSA and others)— Constitutional Court (@ConCourtSA) June 30, 2021
The documents were sealed in 2019 after Ramaphosa approached the North Gauteng High Court, arguing that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane had allegedly obtained the documents illegally.
In a report inwhich Mkhwebane made an adverse finding against Ramaphosa, she found that the president had lied to Parliament when he responded to a question on a R500 000 donation made to his 2017 ANC presidency campaign by the controversial Bosasa group.
During the application, the EFF said the documents remaining sealed would encourage corruption.
The EFF motivated for the unsealing of the documents, which include financial statements reflecting payments made to the CR17 campaign.
Mkhwebane, the EFF and the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism took their fight for access to the financial records of Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign to the Constitutional Court.
In March last year, a full bench of the high court – which included Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, judges Keoagile Matojane and Raylene Keightley – reviewed, declared invalid and set aside Mkhwebane’s decision to investigate and report on the CR17 election campaign.
The high court found that Mkhwebane had no jurisdiction to investigate the complaints lodged by former DA leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu as well as the CR17 campaign and its donations.
In an affidavit dated July 27, 2020 and filed by Ramaphosa’s lawyer, Peter Harris of Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys, the president stated that the issues amaBhungane seek to ventilate in the apex court were not decided at the high court because the centre elected not to enter into the debate regarding the proper interpretation of the Executive Ethics Code.
According to Harris, amaBhungane’s reasons for asking the ConCourt to entertain its application are without merit and mutually destructive.
He told the court amaBhungane were wrong to claim that the high court found that the Ethics Code did not require the disclosure of donations made to intra-party campaigns such as the CR17 campaign.
At the high court, the EFF applied for leave to appeal the full bench’s judgment to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In an affidavit filed by its leader Julius Malema in May, the EFF insisted that Mkhwebane had the requisite jurisdiction to investigate the CR17 campaign as Ramaphosa has a duty to avoid the risk of conduct placing him in a conflict of interest.
Judgment will be delivered on Thursday at 10am.