President Cyril Ramaphosa has responded to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into the R500 000 Bosasa donation to his ANC presidential campaign. (Gallo)
The Presidency says it is “unfortunate” that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane seemingly did not “give due consideration” to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s response to her enquiries before reaching her findings in the Bosasa matter.
Mkhwebane on Friday released her report on the R500 000 donation by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to Ramaphosa’s 2017 ANC presidential campaign. She found that Ramaphosa’s actions were inconsistent with his position as deputy president at the time.
She also found that Ramaphosa had breached the Executive Ethics Code by failing to disclose financial interest accrued to him as a result of the donations received for the so-called CR17 campaign, and that he misled Parliament when answering a question on the matter in November 2019.
In a statement released on Friday, the Presidency confirmed that it had received the report.
“On 27 June 2019, the President submitted a substantial response to the Section 7(9) notice, dealing in detail with areas where the preliminary findings were deficient both factually and in law,” reads the statement.
“It is unfortunate, however, that from a cursory reading of the final report, it seems that the President’s response to the Section 7(9) notice has not been given due consideration.
“Nonetheless, the President will study the Public Protector’s report and make a decision on any further action.”
‘No person is above the law’
According to the statement, Ramaphosa reaffirmed his respect for the Office of the Public Protector and his “appreciation of the essential role it needs to play in promoting accountability and advancing the interests of the South African people”.
“The President further reaffirms his determination and commitment to fight all forms of corruption and malfaesance. To this end, no person regardless of the position they hold is above law.”
This comes a day after Ramaphosa said in the National Assembly that no one in his administration should be above the law.
Delivering his response to the debate on the Presidency’s budget, Ramaphosa said he had to defend State Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan – also the subject of recent adverse findings by the Public Protector – against EFF leader Julius Malema’s “extraordinary attack”.
“No person is above the law, no person is above scrutiny. Every person must answer for their actions,” he said.
“That includes the president, that includes honourable Gordhan, that includes even honourable Malema.”
R500 000 payment from Bosasa
The Public Protector’s report follows an initial complaint by DA leader Mmusi Maimane, after Ramaphosa’s response to him in a question session in the National Assembly in November last year.
Ramaphosa told the National Assembly that his son had received money from Bosasa for services rendered in terms of a consultancy contract. He told Parliament then that he had seen this contract.
Ramaphosa later backtracked in a letter to then-speaker Baleka Mbete, saying the R500 000 payment from Bosasa was actually a donation to his ANC presidential campaign, which he had been unaware of.
It later emerged that his son, Andile Ramaphosa, had indeed done consultancy work for Bosasa, and his father refused to disclose how much he was paid for this work when Maimane questioned it in the National Assembly in March this year, saying the issue was with the Public Protector.
Maimane has indicated that the DA will ask Parliament to establish an ad hoc committee to decide Ramaphosa’s fate in response to the findings against him.