President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Reuters/Rodger Bosch
Cape Town - The Presidency has denounced the leaking of confidential banking information belonging to backers of President Cyril Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign to the media and reiterated that he had run a "clean campaign" ahead of the ANC's Nasrec elective conference in 2017.

The bank statements form part of legal papers before the court in Ramaphosa's challenge to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's  report over the millions of rand donated to his campaign.

The president is arguing that the report by Mkhwebane was irrational and has to be set  side.

Ramaphosa’s lawyer Peter Harris wrote to Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba that the record of the donors be sealed and not made public.  He also argues that the information may have been obtained illegally.

But Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said on Friday that everything was above aboard. 

Mkhwebane found Ramaphosa lied to Parliament regarding the R500 000 donation from controversial Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson for his presidential campaign. She cited leaked emails, which have since been widely circulated on social media, as the source of her information.

The leaked emails purport to show that the president consulted with his campaign managers about which backers to approach for funding and how much was donated to his campaign, despite his claims to the contrary.

The Presidency expressed "grave concern" at what it said "amounts to a violation of the constitutionally enshrined right to privacy. This is all the more troubling as it seems clear that this information had been, from the first instance, obtained in an illegal manner.

" The information, supposedly held only by the Public Protector, includes bank statements of third parties, which record private transactions and which are strictly confidential."
 
According to the Presidency, Ramaphosa's lawyers had made a request to the court "that certain information contained in the record of the Public Protector’s investigation into allegations against the President not be made public. This request is pending a determination on whether the information was obtained lawfully and whether it was lawfully sourced in relation to the complaint under investigation."

On Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu cancelled a media briefing to clarify issues around the leaked emails.

“Having had a discussion with the officials of our glorious movement, we are happy that they are dealing with the matters relating to our president. We have decided not to continue with the media briefing, as posted earlier today,” Mthembu posted on Twitter.

On Tuesday, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe issued a statement saying the party had noted with “grave concern” leaked emails claiming to be giving details on Ramaphosa’s campaign for leadership at its 54th conference.

He said the NEC meeting last month “reflected on the methodologies for campaigning as well as funding for such activities, and resolved to direct the national officials to look into how these processes may be better managed in the future”.

“The ANC is not aware of any acts of illegality on the part of a campaign conducted by any leader of the ANC, including President Ramaphosa.

“The leaked emails are nothing but a calculated manoeuvre to defocus and detract from the immediate task of socio-economic issues, and dealing with the challenges of our economy,” Mabe said.

On Saturday the Presidency reiterated that there was nothing untoward about the way the CR17 campaign was run.

"Neither the President nor the campaign has done anything wrong, ethically or legally. It is a common and accepted practice in South Africa and across the world for parties and candidates to raise funding from donors for campaigns.

"From the outset, the CR17 campaign team and the candidate agreed that this should be a clean campaign that operated within the necessary legal prescripts and in line with the values and principles of their organisation."

Political Bureau and IOL