Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane reacted over the weekend to a News24 report detailing the contents of emails leaked to the publication in which names of potential donors to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency were revealed.
The emails appeared to indicate that Ramaphosa lied under oath in a parliamentary answer, in which he claimed no knowledge of donations made to his campaign by state capture-linked firm Bosasa. The involvement of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in the campaign has also been revealed through the emails.
“Expect more of this, as the governing party collapses with deployees [and] state fighting each other. Our greatest challenge is that we have an economy in distress, and a country that must focus on jobs [and] the future. Let’s reform our politics so those who share values work together,” was Maimane’s initial response.
Shortly afterwards, the leader of the official opposition said: “Let the ruling party split. So those who are committed to corruption work together and stand for an election, and those who are opposed to corruption and building a constitutional democracy join forces. That’s the choice that must be presented to voters. We must bring change.”
This indicated that, despite Ramaphosa’s promises to fight corruption and deliver a “new dawn” to South Africans, Maimane believes the president is among the corrupt elements within his party.
Maimane was instrumental in bringing the R500,000 donation Bosasa made to the CR17 campaign to light, after he produced bank statements in parliament in November last year showing the money had been paid to an account belonging to the president’s son Andile.
Ramaphosa first said this amount was legitimately paid to Andile for consulting work, but he soon backtracked and admitted it was a donation to the CR17 campaign. He denied having known this previously, claiming a decision was made not to involve him in the process of funding or to inform him regarding who his donors were, something the leaked emails appeared to expose as untrue, at least to some extent.
His campaign managers have said he was largely still kept in the dark, though, and was not privy to who actually donated and how much, since they wanted to hold their campaign to a “higher standard”.
Maimane laid a complaint with the public protector over the Bosasa donations, which was among those that led to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recent report finding that the president had misled parliament over them, along with a complaint from Economic Freedom Fighters deputy president Floyd Shivambu and one Mkhwebane described as coming from an “anonymous whistleblower”.