Ramaphosa to address the nation on Public Protector Bosasa report

 

 

NEWS ANALYSIS

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation and answer questions from the media about the Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s damning report into a R500 000 donation to his ANC presidential campaign from Gavin Watson, the controversial head of Bosasa.

The move is likely meant to illustrate two things: that the president takes the findings of the public protector seriously and an attempt to limit the political damage the report has inflicted on his presidency.

Mkhwebane announced on Friday that she found Ramaphosa had misled Parliament when he responded to questions about whether Watson’s company — which now trades as African Global Group — had donated R500 000 to his campaign for the CR17 campaign in December 2017. She also found that Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane’s complaint on money laundering “had merit” and directed the National Prosecuting Authority to further investigate the matter.

READ MORE: Public Protector finds Ramaphosa misled Parliament on Bosasa donation

Mkhwebane’s report is likely to be taken under review by Ramaphosa: he released his responses to her on the allegations on Friday and complained that she had not taken them into consideration to reach her conclusions.

However, some of the revelations she made in her report such as large sums of money donated by individuals to the campaign have cast a shadow over Ramaphosa’s image as an anti-graft crusader and his administration’s state capture clean-up project.

Mkhwebane used the word ‘capture’ in her media briefing when referring to the large donations and has instructed Ramaphosa to reveal the identity of his donors as part of her remedial action.

It has long been an open secret that ANC internal elections are heavily influenced by money and candidates spend large amounts on their campaigns. Organisational reports delivered at almost every conference for over a decade have lamented the use of money in internal party elections and its impact on internal democracy in the party.

Mkhwebane has now tied this political albatross firmly around Ramaphosa’s neck — even if her report is set aside after a court review — and it is imperative that he take the nation into his confidence on the matter.

The move to address the nation also sets Ramaphosa apart from his predecessor Jacob Zuma who simply unleashed his allies in the ANC to attack the public protector and then simply ignored her findings, particularly after the release of her report on the upgrades to his private residence at Nkandla in 2014.

While the Economic Freedom Fighters and Ramaphosa’s opponents in the ANC are attempting to paint the new president with the same brush as Zuma, his stance toward the office of the public protector is decidedly different.


Mkhwebane herself admitted this when she thanked Ramaphosa for his cooperation and for the ‘mature way’ in which he handled their interactions ahead of releasing her report on Friday.

Who can forget Zuma’s epic fights with then public protector Thuli Madonsela, who was forced to publicly release the transcript of a belligerent interview with him after he had claimed that he was not afforded an opportunity to respond to allegations in her report on state capture.

But the fundamental difference between the Ramaphosa and Zuma administrations is that the former is making use of the courts to review the public protector’s findings which are binding — unless they are set aside in a review process. He has supported Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s application for an interdict as the minister reviews Mkhwebane’s findings on the so-called rogue unit at the South African Revenue Service.

Ramaphosa is likely to take the nation into his confidence this evening over whether he will review Mkhwebane’s findings against him.

The briefing is scheduled to kick off at 6pm.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

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.
Advertising

ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday