Ramaphosa must apologise to South Africans about CR17 controversy: Political expert

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Supplied

Political analyst and constitutional expert Professor Shadrack Gutto believes President Cyril Ramaphosa must apologise to the nation for the ongoing controversy regarding funders of his CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency.

This after reports at the weekend revealed some of the funders who pumped millions into Ramaphosa's successful bid to lead the ANC in the so-called Ramaphosa e-mail leaks.

The leaks further revealed that Ramaphosa might have known about some of the funders, contrary to his previous assertion that he was in no way involved in sourcing money for the campaign.

Gutto said for Ramaphosa to find peace, he must apologise to the nation and withdraw a court challenge to review public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report into the matter, which was adverse for the president.

Gutto said: "I am no legal adviser for the president, but I would say the president has reached a position where he ought to apologise to the nation.

"Also, he actually has to remove the court action which he was taking against the public protector, questioning her findings that he may have broken the constitution and did not abide by executive ethics code.

"He must do what the public protector asked him to do and implement the remedial action."

New information has surfaced on the public protector's probe into President Cyril Ramaphosa. News24 claims that leaked emails show Ramaphosa knew who funded his CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency. The emails allegedly show that public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan played a central role in raising funds for the campaign. Ramaphosa was consulted about plans to approach donors, including Greek shipping tycoon Tony Georgiades, who was linked to the controversial arms deal, and a ''politically connected socialite'' previously suspected of smuggling gold out of SA.

Gutto said the Ramaphosa leaks must expose the gaps in the electoral system for political office in the country.

To this end, he believes the focus should not be on Ramaphosa but rather that a fully-fledged inquiry into funding of individuals and political parties must be established.

During the inquiry, he said, others, including those who competed against Ramaphosa for the ANC top job, must also be compelled to reveal their funders.

"Before the email leaks and the public protector's report, this is something the president should have known was wrong," said Gutto.

"It raises a lot of questions, and I think it is something that should apply to all the other candidates who competed for political positions within their parties in the run-up to the elections. It should not be limited only to him.

"People ought to know who contributed and how much. And those who contributed must indicate their purpose for the contributions," Gutto said.

"The talk around the funding of the president is a matter that has revealed serious loopholes in our electoral systems, inside political parties and even the IEC (Electoral Commission of South Africa)."

Gutto said the matter was "a turning point for the ANC" and it would serve the party  to chart a clear way forward about about how leaders run for office within the party. 

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