Ramaphosa labels public protector's report on Bosasa donation as 'unfortunate'
President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was “unfortunate” that public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane did not take his response to her preliminary findings into account after skim-reading the report on Friday.
“It is unfortunate, however, that from a cursory reading of the final report, it seems that the president’s response to the Section 7(9) notice has not been given due consideration,” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said on Friday afternoon.
This comes after Mkhwebane found on Friday that Ramaphosa misled parliament in his response to a question about a R500,000 donation from Bosasa for his presidential campaign in 2017.
President Cyril Ramaphosa held a press conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on July 21 2019 to reply to public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report that found he violated the ethics code.
Mkhwebane told Ramaphosa what her preliminary findings were on May 30 in a section 7(9) notice.
“Nonetheless, the president will study the public protector’s report and make a decision on any further action.”
DA leader Mmusi Maimane asked the public protector to investigate if Ramaphosa deliberately misled parliament in 2018 when he at first said the donation was paid to his son Andile as part of a legitimate business transaction.
Mkhwebane’s report also found Ramaphosa misled parliament and acted in violation of the provisions of the executive ethics code.
Mkhwebane found Ramaphosa “deliberately” misled parliament as he should have allowed himself enough time to research a “well-informed” response.
"President Ramaphosa’s conduct ... although ostensibly in good faith, to be inconsistent with his office as a member of cabinet and therefore in violation of section 96(1) of the constitution,” Mkhwebane said.
Mkhwebane said Ramaphosa acted improperly and in violation of the provisions of the ethics code in that he exposed himself to a situation involving the risk of a conflict between his official duties and his private interests.
"... The campaign pledges towards the CR17 campaign were some form of sponsorship, and that they were direct financial sponsorship or assistance from non-party sources other than a family member or permanent companion, and were therefore benefits of a material nature to President Ramaphosa," Mkhwebane said.
The public protector also found Ramaphosa personally benefited from the CR17 campaign contributions. Mkhwebane’s findings also revealed that there were three donations of R30m, R39m and R51m that came from a donor between March and September 2017, for the CR17 campaign.
Mkhwebane said the donations risked “some sort of state capture by those donating these moneys to the campaign”.
Mkhwebane also found an "improper" relationship between Ramaphosa, his family and Bosasa.
She has referred prima facie evidence of money laundering uncovered during her investigation to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Mkhwebane also gave the National Assembly speaker 30 days to refer her finding that Ramaphosa has violated the code of ethical conduct to the joint committee on ethics and members' interests for consideration.
Mkhwebane directed the national police commissioner to investigate criminal conduct against former Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson for violation of section 11 (3) of the Public Protector Act by lying under oath when she interviewed him in her office.
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