Ramaphosa formally responds to Mkhwebane probe

President Cyril Ramaphosa submitted his response to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Thursday, after she implicated him in her probe into donations to his campaign for the ANC presidency.

Mkhwebane notified Ramaphosa in May that he was implicated in her investigation for violating the Executive Ethics Code.

“The President’s submission contains various confirmatory affidavits and supporting documents which, in his view, will enable this matter to be brought to conclusion as speedily as possible,” a statement from the Presidency said on Thursday.

Mkhwebane’s investigation is linked to a donation to Ramaphosa’s campaign for the ANC presidency from controversial businessperson, Gavin Watson. Watson and his company Bosasa — which now trades as African Global Group — gained infamy during the course of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

Ramaphosa received the Section 7(9) notice from Mkhwebane in May but requested an extension due to “other pressing matters of state”. In his statement, Ramaphosa reaffirmed his respect for the office of the public protector and his commitment to offer his full cooperation.”

This comes after senior leaders of the ANC and the alliance questioned Mkhwebane’s motives in her pursuit of the donations to Ramaphosa.

South African Communist Party deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila alleged that Mkhwebane was being used by ANC factions and rogue intelligence elements to destabilise the state and overturn Ramaphosa’s election as ANC president.

READ MORE: Public Protector is being used by a ‘rogue intelligence unit’, says the SACP

Mkhwebane has since called on Mapaila to provide evidence of his statement or retract it, or face legal action.

ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe on Thursday said Mkhwebane had entered political terrain by probing donations to Ramaphosa, while ignoring the seven other ANC candidates who contested for the post in 2017.

READ MORE: Mantashe defends Ramaphosa, Gordhan

This follows reports that Mkhwebane has expanded the scope of her probe into Ramaphosa’s R500 000 donation from controversial former services company Bosasa boss Gavin Watson to include allegations of money laundering. The Sunday Times reported that she was investigation donations to his campaign in excess of R400-million after scrutinising bank accounts linked to him.

Mapaila and Mantashe were speaking at a National Education, health and Allied Workers Union policy conference in Boksburg this week. 

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Natasha Marrian
Natasha Marrian
Marrian has built a reputation as an astute political journalist, investigative reporter and commentator. Until recently she led the political team at Business Day where she also produced a widely read column that provided insight into the political spectacle of the week.

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