President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the media briefing on the report of the Public Protector on allegations that the President violated the Executive Ethics Code at the Union Buildings Media Centre in Tshwane. Picture: GCIS

UPDATED

Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced his intention to take Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s damning report against him on the Bosasa donation saga on urgent judicial review.

Addressing journalists at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Ramaphosa described the report as irrational, illegal and of lacking impartiality.

Ramaphosa was responding to the Mkhwebane’s report in which she found him to have violated the Constitution by lying to Parliament regarding the R500 000 which was made by controversial businessman and Bosasa boss Gavin Watson towards his ANC presidential campaign.

When asked by DA leader Mmusi Maimane about the donation last year, Ramaphosa said the payment was made for his son, Andile, who had a contract with Bosasa, only to reveal to Parliament later that it was a donation made by Watson towards his campaign, which he said he was not aware of.

On Friday, Mkhwebane gave Ramaphosa a month to disclose to Parliament all the donations to his CR17 election campaign.

Mkhwebane 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 benefited from the donation.

On Sunday Ramaphosa said it should be matter of concern for South Africans that an office of such Constitutional consequence as that of the public protector [a chapter 9 institution] should make findings of such a nature against the head of state. 

“It is therefore essential as it should be in all investigations that such findings are based on fact, that they have sound legal basis, that they are rational and that they have been arrived at through a fair, impartial and lawful process. Unfortunately, the report released by the public protector falls short and fails to satisfy all these crucial requirements,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said he and his legal representatives have found Mkhwebane’s report to be “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed”, and accused her of violating the Constitution by prejudicing him in the process of producing the report.

He said Mkhwebane's report contained "numerous factual inaccuracies of a material nature". 

"The findings are wrong in law, are irrational and, in some instances, exceed the scope of the powers of the public protector. 

“Furthermore, in failing to provide me with an opportunity to comment on the proposed remedial action, the Public Protector has violated the provisions of the Public Protector Act, the Constitution and the principles of our common law,” he said.

He said only the courts could make the final decision on the Bosasa matter.

“Given the gravity of the matter and the effect that these finding have on the standing and credibility of both the president and the public protector, it is essential that the courts be given an opportunity to review the report and make a finding accordingly,” he said.

Mkhwebane's spokesman said on Sunday night that the Public Protector had noted the president's intentions to take her report on judicial review and welcomed the move.

"Having taken note of the action the President intends to take, and given that she believes in the report she put out, Adv. Mkhwebane will seek to assist the court to arrive at the correct conclusion by defending the matter," Oupa Segalwe said.

Political Bureau