President Cyril Ramaphosa’s former campaign manager has lashed out at allegations that Ramaphosa and his campaign for the ANC presidency were being investigated for money laundering, calling these claims “bizarre”.
In a statement, Bejani Chauke emphasised that the campaign was funded “by a broad range of individuals from across South Africa who supported the objectives of the campaign”. According to Chauke, all funds were paid into accounts set up for the campaign and this money was used to cover costs related to travelling, stipends, communications, promotional material, meeting venues and accommodation.
“In the process, all legal and regulatory requirements were met. There is no basis whatsoever for even a suspicion of money laundering,” Chauke said.
The campaign manager’s response follows a report in the Sunday Times that the public protector — Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane — was investigating Ramaphosa’s campaign for alleged money laundering in donations. This reportedly came after Mkhwebane examined three bank accounts linked to the president as part of her probe.
According to the Sunday Times, the public protector suggested, in a preliminary report, that she had made a finding of money laundering.
Mkhwebane has also been investigating a R500 000 donation to the CR17 campaign from controversial facilities management company Bosasa which has come under fire for alleged corruption.
Ramaphosa initially said the payment was made to his son Andile for consulting work but he then backtracked on this, writing to the speaker of the National Assembly to correct 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.”
Chauke, in his statement, further added that former campaign managers have been “assisting the public protector in her investigation and have been available to explain the nature of the campaign’s operations and funding.”
“We are concerned that claims of this nature are being drip fed into the public space with the clear intention to damage the reputation of the President and to create uncertainty,” Chauke said.
Read Chauke’s statement below: