Ramaphosa ‘deliberately misled’ Parliament – Public Protector finds

Image credit: Twitter/The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

The Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that President Cyril Ramaphosa deliberately misled Parliament.

Her finding is related to her investigation into the R500,000 donation by Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to the CR17 campaign and the reply Ramaphosa gave in Parliament in November 2018.

She released her report during a press conference in Pretoria on Friday morning.

Mkhwebane found that although Ramaphosa may have replied to Democratic Alliance (DA) leader’s question in good faith, he should have first researched the question in order to give a well-informed reply.

She therefore found that Ramaphosa violated the Executive Ethics Members Code.

Declare financial interests

Mkhwebane also found that Ramaphosa further acted inconsistently with his position by failing to declare financial interests that accrued to him from the donations to his campaign.

I have evidence which indicates that some of the money collected through the CR17 campaign trust account was also transferred into the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation account from where it was also transferred to other beneficiaries.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane

The Public Protector further found that Ramaphosa knew some of the donors to his campaign, contrary to his claim that he was kept away from such information.

She also found that there is merit to the allegation of suspicion of money laundering.

Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa exposed himself to a potential conflict of interest in relations to his son Andile Ramaphosa’s dealings with Bosasa, whose CEO Gavin Watson donated to his campaign.

Remedial actions

With regard to the remedial actions, Mkhwebane directed the Speaker of National Assembly to refer Ramaphosa’s violation of the Executive Ethics Code to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests for consideration within 30 days.

She also directed the Speaker to demand publication of all donations Ramaphosa received for the CR17 campaign.

She directed the National Commissioner of Police to investigate Gavin Watson for lying under oath under the Public Protector Act.

Mkhwebane further gave the National Director of Public Prosecutions (DPPP) Shamila Batohi 30 days to conduct further money laundering investigations relating to donations to the CR17 campaign.

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