President Cyril Ramaphosa has indicated that he is not bothered by the ActionSA probe into the settlement the ANC made with KZN-based printing company Ezulweni Investments.
Last year, the ruling party announced that it had finally agreed to terms with the owner of the company, Renash Ramdas, over the ANC’s unpaid 2019 election campaign bill amounting to more than R102 million.
ActionSA wants the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to investigate how the ANC would pay the R102m settlement to Ezulweni Investments, using the Political Party Funding Act in its probe.
This week, ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont revealed that the party had written to the IEC chief executive for party funding seeking an investigation into the ANC’s recent out of court settlement with the company following a four-year legal battle between the two parties.
However, last month the two feuding parties reached an agreement to settle the dispute resulting in an undisclosed settlement.
Beaumont said ActionSA wanted to ensure that the settlement was lawful and was in accordance with the Political Party Funding Act to avoid another state capture risk.
“The revelations of the state capture inquiry, which paved the way for the Political Party Funding Act, revealed in great detail how the ANC funded its activities through its donors receiving tenders,” he said.
He said the settlement should not be taken at face value given the country’s battle with corruption and state capture.
“The notion that this settlement of R102m debt should be accepted at face value is offensive to a country that suffers under the impact of decades of greed and corruption,” said Beaumont.
While speaking to members of the media on Tuesday, Ramaphosa said the settlement was above board, adding that it was done through the office of the treasurer-general, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa.
“The settlement that was done was done through the TG’s office. It is fairly straightforward which is a settlement of a debt. Whoever who wants to look at that can do so whoever so wishes and that is the end of the matter,” Ramaphosa said.
ActionSA said any discount agreed to by Ezulweni Investments on the R102m cannot legally exceed the R15m donation limit; while any payments made by ANC donors to Ezulweni Investments would constitute donations in kind to the ANC; and any payments made to Ezulweni by any individual ANC donor cannot exceed R15m and it would require no less than seven donors to legally settle the debt.
“It is also necessary to understand which donors have settled the debt and whether those donors or Ezulweni Investments will benefit from future business with the state,” Beaumont said.
Last month, Independent Media reported that before the settlement, which the ANC announced in December, the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered the ANC to pay Ezulweni more than R100m, including interest, which amounted to more than R150m.
In a statement on Monday, Ezulweni Investments through its spokesperson Peter Fernando thanked Ramokgopa’s office.
“We wish to thank the negotiating committee, chaired by Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, for its commitment to resolving this matter amicably,” said Fernando.