President Cyril Ramaphosa could face some tough times ahead should Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane make an adverse finding against him with regard to the donation he allegedly received from Bosasa, but by no means should Mkhwebane’s investigation be interfered with.
Political analyst Lesiba Teffo, a professor at Unisa’s Centre for African Renaissance, said it was amazing that Ramaphosa’s supporters were already suggesting Mkhwebane herself should be probed for her fitness to hold office at a time when she was getting deeper into the Ramaphosa donations.
“Where were these supporters all along? Why are they only raising this now?” Teffo asked.
“Despite all the challenges Mkhwebane is faced with, it would only be fair to give her a chance to do her job. Indeed, if there are sufficient reasons to probe her for her fitness to held office, let it be, but that must be above board and not political,” Teffo said.
“Why are we trying to intimidate her? Do we want her to stop her investigation?” The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Mkhwebane is investigating Ramaphosa for money laundering in connection with alleged donations of more than R400 million to his ANC presidential campaign.
She reportedly scrutinised three bank accounts linked to the president as part of her probe. Mkhwebane’s probe follows DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s complaint that the president was given R500,000 for his campaign.
“The prospects for Ramaphosa are too ghastly to contemplate. Besides the opposition, he has opponents within the ANC and the alliance partners. Should the findings be adverse, it’s going to be a turbulent tenure for Ramaphosa,” Teffo said.
“In some quarters there is anxiety. It’s going to cause some ruction within the political sphere and within the ANC. This matter is going to have far-reaching repercussions for the country’s economy.”
With regards to some suggestions that Mkhwebane was being used to fight political battles for the Zuma camp, Teffo said: “Give her a chance to do her work. The process must be fair and objective.”
Yesterday, Maimane told The Citizen that the public protector must continue with her investigation. The DA wanted a multiparty parliamentary ad hoc committee to be established to investigate Ramaphosa’s Bosasa donation.
“The president must account. The investigation is crucial,” Maimane said.
A leaked preliminary report said Mkhwebane intended finding him guilty of in advertently misleading parliament and failing to declare the donation from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson. Constitutional expert Shadrack Gutto said it was unclear whether Ramaphosa’s conduct was an ethical parliamentary issue, but it was surely not an impeachable issue.
“The Independent Electoral Commission ought to have said whether the president had breached the Electoral Act with regards to the donation or not,” Gutto said.
That Ramaphosa admitted to receiving the money and later paid it back showed he was remorseful and there was no need to pursue it further, Gutto said.