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UDM, Cope weigh in on CR17 donations

Sygnia chief executive Magda Wierzycka. Picture: Supplied

Sygnia chief executive Magda Wierzycka. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 13, 2019


Johannesburg - UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says it is a non-starter to underestimate the interests of the business people that made donations to President Cyril Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign.

"The interests of the Guptas might be the same as those of the 'white monopoly capital'. It is a non-starter to say this at the expense of the other group. What if he gives business to those who backed him financially,?" Holomisa said.

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He made the comments in the wake of reports that the chief executive of a financial services company Sygnia Group Magda Wierzycka took to Twitter in defence of donations made by various persons and organisations to the CR17 campaign.

"Everyone who contributed did so to stop corruption, reduce poverty and save SA from Zuma, Guptas etc. No one expected anything in return other than a well-run country (excl Bosasa)," Wierzycka said.

"The other side opted for cash donations in bags. More difficult to track than legitimate donors,” she said before asking that Ramaphosa be allowed to focus on economic growth.

While Holomisa said he had nothing to say about Wierzycka, he added that the controversy over the CR17 donation was an ANC matter.

"They don't have policy on intra-party funding for candidates contesting leadership positions."

He said the problem started at the Polokwane conference when former president Thabo Mbeki was contested by his then deputy Jacob Zuma.

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"Before that time it was rare for a serving president to be challenged."

In instances of a possible contest for ANC presidency, elders would be involved and get the candidates to withdraw from the race and a compromise candidate sought instead.

Holomisa also said the ruling party should go to the drawing board and come up with a policy on intra-party funding for internal contests.

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The country was now suffering from the effects of the lack of such a policy, he added.

"We are in a tight corner as political parties. We will have to go to the drawing board."

Holomisa said his party has been in support of disclosure of private funding of parties while the ANC and DA opposed when the matter was first raised by Idasa.

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"There is a need to cater for intra-party political party funding," he said, adding that those contesting for position should have bank accounts that should be open for scrutiny.

"Since when did you need to have money to be elected? The body politics has now been targeted by those with money," Holomisa said.

Commenting on Wierzycka's comments, COPE said the law should take its course if there was any wrongdoing.

"We are not to interfere with anything. If the president has broken the law, the law must take its course. Nobody is above the law," COPE spokesperson Dennis Bloem said.

Bloem said if funds for the CR17 were illegally obtained, it was a big problem for the country.

"We are from state capture and the Zondo Commision is busy right now with state capture. We can't allow to have a repeat," he said.

Bloem also warned against blind loyalty over funding of the CR17 campaign.

"We must not be blinded by loyalty. If she is to us blind because she is a businessperson and wants to defend Cyril,  it is very problematic," Bloem said.

"You must never be blinded by loyalty. Put country first and not your interests," he added.

Wierzycka has been commenting on contemporary issues that range from corruption, state capture, the country's economic prospects, Zuma, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and now the CR17 donations.

Early this month, she tweeted that South Africa has a bit of time to get its "stuff" together. "Stabilise Eskom using PIC to avoid a downgrade, introduce 20% prescribed assets in exchange for 50% offshore exposure, privatise Denel and SAA. We need tangible solutions to an economic crisis. No point in focusing on the past!"

When the Gauteng High Court ordered punitive cost against Mkhwebane, Wierzycka called on her to resign.

“There is one decision no one will appeal: your resignation. How many more court cases do you need to lose, how much of taxpayers’ money are you wasting? Could we see the accounts of your office and in particular the amounts spent on legal fees?"

Political Bureau

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