Mkhwebane gives Ramaphosa a month to disclose all donations to CR17 campaign

Published Jul 19, 2019


Pretoria - The Public Protector on Friday gave President Cyril Ramaphosa one month to disclose to Parliament all the donations to his campaign to become ANC President.

Mkhwebane made the binding recommendation after finding that Ramaphosa deliberately misled Parliament in relation to a R500 000 donation the CR17 campaign received from African Global Operations (AGO), formerly known as Bosasa - one of the companies at the centre of state capture allegations.

Mkhwebane said Ramaphosa was bound by the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members' Interests for Assembly and Permanent Council Members, to declare such financial interests.

At the time of the donation, Ramaphosa was South Africa's deputy president.

The PP said 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 indicate 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."

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

While Ramaphosa's campaign team insisted Ramaphosa did not know the identities of the donors, Mkhwebane said she had proof of a banquet attended by Ramaphosa and his benefactors where he would have had the opportunity to meet them.

The public protector also directed the national commissioner of the South African Police Service to investigate possible criminal conduct on the part of AGO chief executive Gavin Watson for lying under oath. Mkhwebane said Watson was not genuine during their consultation and was contradicting himself.

Mkhwebane also found Ramaphosa deliberately misled Parliament.

"The allegations that on 06 November 2019 during question session in Parliament, President Ramaphosa deliberately misled the National Assembly, is substantiated," said Mkhwebane.

"He deliberately misled Parliament, in that he should have allowed himself sufficient time to research on a well informed response," she said at a press conference in Pretoria.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that President Cyril Ramaphosa misled Parliament and violated the Constitution in relation to the R500 000 donation his campaign for ANC president received. Video: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Video: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

By misleading Parliament, Ramaphosa had also violated the Constitution, said Mkhwebane.

"I therefore find President Ramaphosa's conduct as referred to above, although ostensibly in good faith, to be inconsistent with his office as a member of cabinet and therefore in violation of section 96(1) of the Constitution," her report found.

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 ANC president.

African News Agency/ANA

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