President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office has responded in a statement to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report accusing him of having violated the constitution and misled parliament in connection with donations received from Bosasa’s Gavin Watson.
The presidency acknowledged receiving the report, which followed the earlier receipt of a Section 7(9) notice which saw Mkhwebane outlining her preliminary findings.
It added that in the president’s “substantial response” to the findings on June 27, he had pointed out where they were “deficient both factually and in law”.
The statement, issued by Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, then said it was “unfortunate” that “a cursory reading of the final report” showed that the president’s response “has not been given due consideration”.
“Nonetheless, the president will study the public protector’s report and make a decision on any further action.”
The statement concludes with Ramaphosa saying he “wishes to reaffirm 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 malfeasance. To this end, no person, regardless of the position they hold, is above law.”
At a press briefing to announce the release of her latest reports, Mkhwebane announced that she had found Ramaphosa deliberately mislead parliament when he was confronted on a donation made to his son, Andile, of R500,000 from Watson, the CEO of hugely controversial facilities company African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa.
This, according to Mkhwebane, constitutes actions which are inconsistent with his office – which at the time was deputy president – and amounts to a violation of the constitution.
She gave Ramaphosa one month to disclose all the donations to his campaign to become ANC president.
She also said that since Ramaphosa personally benefited from the proceeds of the campaign, they should have disclosed this benefit.
“I have evidence which indicates that some of the money collected through the CR17 campaign trust account was also into the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation account from where it was also transferred to other beneficiaries,” she said.
“Failure to disclose the said material benefits, including a donation from AGO (Bosasa), constitutes a breach of the code.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)