The DA said it would be laying criminal charges against President Cyril Ramaphosa following the release of a damning report by the Public Protector. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday said it would be laying criminal charges against President Cyril Ramaphosa and has urged National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to do the same following the release of a damning report by the Public Protector (PP).

A statement from DA leader Mmusi Maimane said PP Busisiwe Mkhwebane's finding that there were suspicions of money laundering regarding a R500 000 donation to his campaign to become ruling party president, needed to be fully investigated.

"The DA will be laying criminal charges of money laundering against Cyril Ramaphosa, the CR17 Campaign, and the attorneys' trust account involved with the campaign," Maimane said.

"The report is replete with evidence to suggest Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign was marred with financial irregularities and possible money laundering."

Maimane laid the complaint which led to the PP's investigation.

Mkhwebane told a media briefing earlier on Friday that there was prima facie evidence pointing to a "suspicion of money laundering" with regard to the Bosasa donation, adding she had proof he had personally benefitted from the donation.

"I have evidence which indicates that some of the money collected through the CR17 campaign trust account was also transferred the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation account from where it was also transferred to other beneficiaries," she said.

Mkhwebane said the money went through several intermediaries, instead of a going straight to the CR17 campaign.

Maimane demanded that Parliament establish an ad hoc committee to consider the PP's report and findings to ensure Ramaphosa is held to account.

Last year, during a question-and-answer session in Parliament, Ramaphosa said his son, Andile, benefited to the tune of R500,000 from a contract with Bosasa. Ramaphosa later retracted his answer, writing to the National Assembly saying he inadvertently provided incorrect information and that the half a million rand was in fact donated to his campaign to become African National Congress president.

Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa had deliberately misled Parliament. Maimane said they will ask Modise to lay charges against the president in this regard. 

"In terms of the sanctions for misleading Parliament as contained in the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act, President Ramaphosa is liable to pay a fine, be imprisoned for a period of up to two years, or both," the opposition leader said.

At the time of the donation, Ramaphosa was deputy president and also a member of Parliament. 

African News Agency (ANA)