An urgent review of the public protector’s report implicating President Cyril Ramaphosa in an alleged breach of the code of ethical conduct and disclosure of members’ interests for parliamentarians is on the cards, but the president maintains this does not suggest he is questioning the competence of Busisiwe Mkhwebane or her office.
Meanwhile, constitutional experts are of the opinion that though Mkhwebane may have erred somewhat in some of her findings, Ramaphosa does, however, have something to answer to.
Ramaphosa called a media briefing last night in which he explained that although he hoped not to be distracted from the business of the day, which includes stamping out corruption, and dealing with the fallout of state capture, he had no choice but to address the issue urgently.
Mkhwebane announced that she had found Ramaphosa deliberately misled parliament when he was confronted on a donation made to his son Andile of R500,000 from Gavin Watson, the CEO of hugely controversial facilities company African Global Operations, formerly known as Bosasa.
“He deliberately misled parliament, in that he should have allowed himself sufficient time to research on a well-informed response,” she said on Friday.
“The findings of the public protector against me are very serious. They allege conduct that cannot and should not be taken lightly by anyone in our country,” Ramaphosa said last night, before announcing his decision to ask for an urgent judicial review.
“It is therefore essential, as it should be in all investigations, that such findings are based on fact, that they have sound legal basis, that they are rational and that they have been arrived at through a fair, impartial and lawful process.
“After careful study, I have concluded that the report is fundamentally and irretrievably flawed. This is strongly confirmed by my legal representatives, who have equally studied the public protector’s report very thoroughly.”
He maintained that the report not only contained a number of factual inaccuracies, but also legal errors which, in some instances, “exceed the scope of the powers of the public protector”.
The president said he had “decided to take this action not only to protect the rights that the constitution affords me as a person, but also to preserve the integrity of the office that I occupy”.
He denied being intimately involved with the fundraising campaign for his ANC presidential campaign and admitted that he had not declared all donations to his then boss, Jacob Zuma, as the campaigning and fundraising was a normal part of the business of running for office.