Mkhwebane must release CR17 campaign banking records - ATM

Political formation ATM has called for the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to make public CR17 campaign banking records.
Political formation ATM has called for the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to make public CR17 campaign banking records.
Image: Esa Alexander

Calls for the unsealing of the controversial CR17 presidential campaign banking records are gaining momentum.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has written to public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to release the CR17 banking records which she obtained during her investigation into the R500,000 Bosasa donation.

CR17 campaign was for President Cyril Ramaphosa's successful quest for ANC presidency in December 2017, at the party's elective conference held at Nasrec, Johannesburg. The records which contain details of people who donated to Ramaphosa’s campaign were sealed by the court on argument that they were not obtained legally by Mkhwebane during her investigation into him.

In her investigation of the R500,000 donations from Bosasa boss Gavin Watson, Mkhwebane obtained banking records relating to the CR17 campaign which had details of other donors.

The documents were quickly sealed by the court ahead of Ramaphosa’s court application seeking to review and set aside her findings that he deliberately misled parliament about his knowledge of the donation.

Mkhwebane also found that there was prima facie evidence of money laundering relating to how monies donated to the campaign moved around.

In the letter penned by the ATM president Vuyo Zungula to Mkhwebane, the ATM argues that by virtue of the matter around the sealing of the records being heard in court and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) declaring that they were legally obtained by Mkhwebane’s office then there is no reason for them to remain sealed.

“In our view, the Public Protector should simply inform the public of her intention release these bank records and any person who wishes to object to the release thereof should approach court and explain under oath why bank records should not be released. The matter is as simple as that,” the letter reads.

Zungula said Mkhwebane should release the records failing which the ATM would apply for a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) which seeks to promote transparency under the constitution.

“In the circumstances, we hereby call upon the office of the Public Protector to immediately release the bank records of the CR17 campaign,” Zungula said.

“Failing which, ATM will have no choice but to launch the PAIA application to compel the office of the Public Protector to make these documents available for public scrutiny.”

Zungula said the public was interested in finding out who funded Ramaphosa's campaign which ultimately led to him becoming the country's president.

This letter comes after the EFF last week raised the same issue following its plenary session saying the records were “wrongly sealed” ahead of a court hearing in which Ramaphosa was reviewing the public protector’s report on the Bosasa donation.

EFF leader Julius Malema said they were concerned at how easy it was for the court to seal the document.

He also called out the media, anti-corruption organisations and nongovernmental organisation for remaining silent on the issue of the sealed records.

“We will not be shocked to find out that some of these organisations and key individuals in the media have been beneficiaries of the CR17 funding and hence none of them seeks the unsealing of CR17 documents,” Malema said.

Two EFF members of parliament had to resign from the party last year after an expose revealed that they had benefited from the CR17 funds.

Tebogo Mokwele and Nkagisang Mokgosi resigned after it was revealed that they had received R80,000 and R40,000 respectively.

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