The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has “categorically” rejected Pretoria high court’s ruling setting aside Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign donations.
In a statement on Tuesday, the party vowed to appeal the ruling at the Constitutional Court because it had “absolved Ramaphosa from accountability.”
The EFF applied to join the matter in support of Mkhwebane. However, the court dismissed their arguments and ruled that Ramaphosa had not deliberately misled Parliament when he answered a question about a donation by the late ex-Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to his campaign.
‘Ruling renders MPs’ oath futile’
The court also ruled that Ramaphosa did not personally benefit from the donations financially and was not obliged to declare the donations. It also ruled that Mkhwebane had no jurisdiction to investigate the CR17 campaign.
The EFF rejected these findings, asking how MPs are expected to declare simple items while Ramaphosa does not have to declare the “billions” his campaign received.
The party said, “The North Gauteng High Court ruling has effectively rendered the oath of members of Parliament futile, uprooting the respect this important arm of the state has.
“Absolving him means there are laws for the rest of South Africans and laws for Ramaphosa. It is a direct violation of the foundation of our constitutional order: equality before the law.”
The EFF also criticised the ruling’s “complete silence” on the decision, made by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba in August last year, to seal CR17 documents obtained by Mkhwebane during the course of her investigation.
The documents include emails and bank statements, some of which were leaked to the media and social media.
“This silence must be read as the court effectively participating in the cover up of CR17 documents and thus inhibiting accountability, transparency and openness on the part of those who hold immense public power,” the EFF said.
The party said an appeal affords the Constitutional Court an opportunity to “either correct the unreasonableness of the North Gauteng High Court or join in obliterating the principles of equality before the law, transparency and accountability.”
It added, “Let the Constitutional Court participate in saying Ramaphosa does not have to declare funds he personally benefitted from in order to be President of the ruling party.
“On that day, it will be the end of our constitutional democracy as we know it.”
Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, earlier said she would “rally” her legal team to study the ruling before making a decision on the way forward.