South Africa’s graft watchdog finds Ramaphosa deliberately misled parliament

Clay Curtis
July 21, 2019

"It is awfully embarrassing for Ramaphosa", said Ralph Mathekga, an author of books on Zuma and Ramaphosa.

Former South African president Jacob Zuma threatened enemies in his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party on Friday, after securing a concession on how he is questioned at a corruption inquiry. She also instructed the chief prosecutor to investigate whether Ramaphosa's campaign had laundered money in handling donations.

Releasing the report on her investigation into the donation on Friday, Mkhwebane said the allegations are substantiated that he deliberately misled the National Assembly during a question session in Parliament in November a year ago. The findings against the president were 'more damaging than expected, said Darias Jonker of the London-based Eurasia risk consultancy.

Ramaphosa's explanation that he did not know about the donors and donations is false, Mkhwebane said. "The ANC has full confidence in President Ramaphosa's ability to champion efforts of building the South Africa we want free from disunity and underdevelopment", the statement read.

Now the ANC faces an internal struggle between allies of Ramaphosa and Zuma, who led South Africa from 2009 to 2018 when he resigned under party pressure and was replaced by former deputy Ramaphosa.

A political analyst and researcher at the University of the Western Cape, Ralph Mathekga, said Ramaphosa should be careful about how he handles the watchdog's report, saying it might hurt the president further if he loses at court.

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Friday found that President Cyril Ramaphosa misled Parliament and violated the Constitution in relation to the R500,000 donation his campaign for ANC president received.

His supporters say Mkhwebane isn't impartial in her investigations and accuse her of acting as a proxy for Zuma's faction.

Ramaphosa has publicly sided with Gordhan in that dispute and filed supporting papers last week in an effort to set aside Mkhwebane's report. Yesterday Zuma withdrew from testifying to an inquiry into corruption during his rule, complaining of bias, though he may return at a later date (see report on the right).

She said her preliminary view was that "such scenario, when looked at carefully, creates a situation of the risk of some sort of state capture by those donating these moneys to the campaign".

Ramaphosa was confronted by DA leader Mmusi Maimane with a signed affidavit by former Bosasa auditor Peet Venter, which revealed that a R500 000 payment was made to an attorney's trust account, called EFG2, in October 2017.

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