The amaBhungane centre for investigative journalism has filed papers in an attempt to join the ongoing legal battle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, which sees the president taking her report finding he misled parliament on review.
Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa should have declare donations to his successful CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency, and that he violated the Executive Ethics Code by failing to do so. Ramaphosa’s lawyers argue that the code does not require the declaration of donations to internal party campaigns such as CR17.
amaBhungane say they are not choosing sides in the case.
They believe the president’s lawyers are right about the Executive Ethics Code not currently requiring politicians to declare internal party campaign funding, due to a precedent set by an earlier case involving former DA leader Mmusi Maimane – who was accused of violating the code of conduct for members of parliament – a similar document to the ethics code – by failing to declare who funded his campaign for the leadership of the DA.
However, amaBhungane is trying to have the Executive Ethics Code declared unconstitutional for this exact reason – that it doesn’t force politicians to declare who funded their internal party campaigns. They want the code amended so that it does make such declarations mandatory going forward.
This is because “the CR17 campaign clearly showed, internal party campaigns are a huge business and donations can have a profound effect on the outcome – and therefore the leadership and direction of a ruling party,” says the centre in an advocacy release aiming to explain their decision to get involved in the case.