/ 22 August 2019

Ramaphosa breaks silence on campaign payments

President Cyril Ramaphosa told MPs he has raised the idea of clear campaign funding rules within the ANC.
President Cyril Ramaphosa told MPs he has raised the idea of clear campaign funding rules within the ANC. (David Harrison/M&G)



President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that his CR17 ANC Presidential campaign gave money to two former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs.

Tebogo Mokwele and Nkagisang Mokgosi resigned as members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) after it was revealed they had accepted money from Ramaphosa.

At the time Mokwele said the money was to help pay for a family funeral.

Responding to EFF leader Julius Malema’s parliamentary question as to who had funded his campaign, and who else deposits were made to, Ramaphosa admitted he gives money to people who find themselves in hard times.

“The EFF have put me in a very embarrassing position,” Ramaphosa told MPs.

“Those members [Mokwele and Mokgosi] have already been shifted aside. Those two colleagues were some of my most critical opponents in the NCOP [National Council of Provinces], but there is a question of humanity beyond party lines. When these two members had great difficulty, we felt that help was needed. The help was not connected to anything. It was out of deep generosity,” Ramaphosa said.

But Ramaphosa stood firm, saying he won’t reveal the identities of donors, so as to respect their privacy.

Responding to a question by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, President Ramaphosa told MPs there’s no reason for another commission of inquiry into facilities management company Bosasa, now known as Africa Global Operations.

“It is public record the [Zondo] commission is investigating various allegations relating to Bosasa. I have deposed an affidavit regarding any contact or dealings I have had with any persons who have appeared before the commission or have been named at the Commission,” Ramaphosa said.

“I would be willing and prepared to appear before the commission on any matter that will assist it with their work. So there’s no reason to establish a new inquiry.“

This is Ramaphosa’s first appearance in the Parliament since a report by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that he misled MPs about a R500 00 donation made to his 2017 ANC leadership campaign.

Ramaphosa is taking MKhwebane’s report on judicial review, telling legislators he wants to have the matter finalized sooner rather than later.

Ramaphosa was also asked by Maimane to confirm the veracity of an ANC letter thanking Bosasa for a three million rand political funding donation, and whether the party will pay back the money.

The letter dates to when Ramaphosa was the deputy president of the governing party.

The President said he would first examine the letter and will respond at a later date.

Ramaphosa told MPs he has raised the idea of clear campaign funding rules within the ANC, and wants Parliament to consider formulating legislation to govern how parties conduct internal leadership campaigns and how they are funded.

Ramaphosa said that his message to South Africans is that his 2017 ANC presidential campaign was above board, and there was nothing untoward in raising money in contesting the ANC leadership race.

“The CR17 campaign was a forward-looking effort to promise the renewal of the governing party. And it was undertaken under difficult positions. There was no wrongdoing, no criminality, and no abuse of public funds,” the President said