High court dismisses EFF bid to unseal CR17 funds

20 July 2021 - 11:59
By siviwe feketha AND Siviwe Feketha
Cyril Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign bank records remain sealed. File photo.
Image: Masi Losi Cyril Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign bank records remain sealed. File photo.

The high court in Pretoria has dismissed the application by the EFF to force President Cyril Ramaphosa to unseal bank statements relating to the funding of his CR17 ANC presidential campaign.

The EFF had approached the court earlier this year where it argued that the CR17 documents had to be opened up in the interest of open justice and public interest.

The application was dismissed with costs on Tuesday.

This was the second blow to the party on the matter after the Constitutional Court dismissed the bid by embattled public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to overturn the invalidity of her report on the CR17 campaign earlier this month which was set aside by the high court.

The EFF had backed Mkhwebane on the matter.

Mkhwebane found Ramaphosa to have violated the executive ethics code by failing to disclose CR17 donations and added that her probe had uncovered prima facie evidence of money laundering.

The EFF argued before the court in March that the privacy of CR17 donors was outweighed by the public interest in revealing the bank statements and identities of the funders as there were also allegations that some of them were benefiting from state tenders under Ramaphosa’s administration.

Judge Elmarie van der Schyff, however, dismissed the push for Ramaphosa to be forced to reveal who had funded his multimillion-rand presidential campaign, which he and his campaign managers had been opposing. They said there was a prior agreement between the managers and the donors that their identities and names would not be published.

EFF leader Julius Malema took to social media to express his disappointment over the ruling.

“What happened to public interest? Our courts, to say I'm disappointed, is an understatement,” Malema said.

This is a developing story.