President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Executive ethics code is unconstitutional and invalid, court hears in Ramaphosa, Mkhwebane battle

By LOYISO SIDIMBA Time of article published Feb 5, 2020

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Pretoria - The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism wants the North Gauteng High Court to declare the Executive Ethics Code declared unconstitutional and invalid.

Steven Budlender SC, representing amaBhungane, told the full bench of the high court - Judge-President Dunstan Mlambo, judges Keoagile Matojane and Raylene Keightley - said his client's case and interest in the battle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane goes beyond whether or not they both acted unlawfully.

"In the event that this court were to hold that the code does not require the disclosure of donations made to campaigns for positions within political parties, such as the CR17 campaign, amaBhungane then contends that the code is unconstitutional and invalid to that extent," read amaBhungane's application.

The centre has also asked the high court to hold that the code does not require the disclosure of donations made to campaigns for positions within political parties. 

It wants a declaration that the code is unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid to this extent.

It also wants the declaration of invalidity to have no retrospective effect and shall be suspended for a period of 12 months to allow for the defect to be remedied.

Budlender said amaBhungane's case was not about the CR17 campaign, but fixing the legislative regime.

He said all donations made to internal political party campaigns should be declared.

"The code has always been unconstitutional, it just needs to be declared unconstitutional," he explained.

According to Budlender, the code requires gifts valued at more than R350 to be disclosed but not the millions of rands politicians receive for their internal political party campaigns.

Earlier on Wednesday, EFF counsel Vincent Maleka said the party supported Mkhwebane's findings that Ramaphosa failed to declare the benefits accrued to the CR17 campaign.

He said Ramaphosa's prospects of leading the ANC and ultimately becoming head of state, benefited from the CR17 campaign.

Ramaphosa wants Mkhwebane's report, which directed Parliament's ethics committee to take action against him, among others, reviewed and set aside.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has told the court that Mkhwebane referred her findings to the wrong committee, which can not deal with former Members of Parliament as Ramaphosa as president of the country is not an MP.

Political Bureau

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