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10 Jun 2019 13:24
According to the leader Mmusi Maimane, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report is almost six months late, leaving her with no choice but to act immediately and release the report in the interest of the public. (Gallo)
In a statement on Monday, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said he will write to Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, requesting that she release the full unredacted report on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Bosasa loan within the next 48 hours or face legal action.
According to the DA leader, Mkhwebane’s report is almost six months late, leaving her with no choice but to act immediately and release the report in the interest of the public.
In November last year, Ramaphosa backtracked on a response he gave before the National Assembly in response to Maimane over the payment of R500 000 from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson to Ramaphosa’s election campaign for the ANC presidency. Questions were raised about the payment as Ramaphosa’s son Andile was also in business with Bosasa.
The payment — made in October 2017 — Ramaphosa said at the time, was made without his knowledge.
This emerged in a letter Ramaphosa drafted to the speaker of the National Assembly dated November 14 2018, saying he had inadvertently provided incorrect information in his response.
News24 reported him as having said at the time: “I have been subsequently informed that the payment referred to…does not relate to that contract.
“I have been told that the payment to which the leader of the opposition referred was made on behalf of Mr Gavin Watson into a trust account that was used to raise funds for a campaign established to support my candidature for the presidency of the African National Congress.”
On Sunday, the office of the public protector tweeted that Mkhwebane will not comment on a Sunday Independent (IOL) report claiming she found President Cyril Ramaphosa guilty of “inadvertently misleading” Parliament over the donation.
According to IOL, in a preliminary report submitted to Ramaphosa last Thursday — which the publication claims to have seen courtesy of one of the president’s confidants — Mkhwebane said the president violated the Constitution and the executive code of ethics.
According to Maimane, Ramaphosa misled Parliament about the R500 000 payment received from Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, and the clear conflict of interest that exists between him, his son, Andile and Bosasa.
The DA leader met with Mkhwebane on April 9 this year to get an update on the complaint.
The report is now almost six months overdue as the Executive Members’ Ethics Act states: ‘The Public Protector must investigate a complaint on an alleged breach of the code of ethics by a member of the National Assembly and submit a report within 30 days of receipt of the complaint’.
The immediate release of this report will leave no room for further leaks and speculation and allow the public and Parliament to hold President Ramaphosa to account for his actions, Maimane said.
“It is high time that Presidents, and their families’ who mislead Parliament are treated as equal before and held to account to the fullest might of the law.”
Kiri Rupiah is the Mail & Guardian’s online editor. Read more from Kiri Rupiah
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