Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Investigation was 'by the book', insists Mkhwebane as court battle looms over Ramaphosa campaign

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Aug 10, 2019

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The fight between Cyril Ramaphosa and Busisiwe Mkhwebane escalated on Friday after the president asked the high court to exclude financial records from the Bosasa report drawn up by the public protector.

In a letter to Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, Aubrey Ledwaba, the president’s lawyers said the information was obtained illegally by Mkhwebane.

But Mkhwebane said she had conducted the investigation by the book.

There was nothing illegal about it, she added.

Oupa Segalwe, the spokesperson for Mkhwebane, said she had not violated any law.

“In terms of the notice of motion, the public protector is called upon to provide the record of her investigation or all the evidence she relied upon in arriving at the conclusions she made in the report.

“She will do so in terms of the court rules by August 15,” he said.

Segalwe said once the documents had been filed, they became public information.

Ramaphosa and Mkhwebane are locked in a legal dispute over her findings in the report.

The president wants the high court to set aside the report, which made findings against him regarding the millions donated to his ANC leadership campaign in 2017.

Subsequent to the report, the ANC said it would have to amend its rules on campaign funding.

In the letter to Judge Ledwaba, Ramaphosa’s lawyer Peter Harris said certain information on the funds donated to the campaign should be sealed and not be made public.

“We submit that the bank statements of EFG2 Linked Environmental Services, Ria Tenda Trust and the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation accounts contain confidential information which must be protected.

“The details of these bank accounts belong to private entities and record their private transactions, which are strictly confidential,” said to the letter.

“Furthermore, we have reason to believe that certain of the... documents may have been unlawfully obtained by the public protector.”

The letter said should it be found the information was obtained illegally, it would be in breach of the Protection of Personal Information Act.

It added that Mkhwebane had not restricted herself to the R500000 donation by Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson, but went beyond that and investigated other donations.

The letter said the records of those donations should not be made public.

Segalwe said he would not be able to comment on the letter by Ramaphosa’s lawyers.

“The letter has been forwarded to our counsel from whom the public protector will take advice on how to deal with the matter going forward,” said Segalwe.

“The public protector conducted the investigation by the book.

“There was no unlawful activity,” he said.

This week, Ramaphosa won a legal battle against Mkhwebane over Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Mkhwebane had wanted Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan for granting early retirement to former SA Revenue Service deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.

But Ramaphosa had said he would not be able to undertake the action because Gordhan lodged a review application against Mkhwebane.

Judge Letty Molopa-Sethosa of the North Gauteng High Court, in her judgment, ruled in favour of Ramaphosa.

Political Bureau

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