CR17 campaign paid high-ranking politicians including a minister and deputy minister, report claims

2019-08-11 12:50
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Felix Dlangamandla)

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A group of politicians, including a minister and a deputy minister, were seemingly paid millions for their role in President’s Cyril Ramaphosa's 2017 ANC presidential campaign, Sunday Independent reported.

According to that newspaper, it had seen the campaign's bank records as well as emails and financial statements which identify the beneficiaries of the R1bn campaign fund.

It has been reported that Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was paid R5m for her role in the campaign, paid through a company called Phore Farms Pty Ltd, of which she was the managing director before being made a minister.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya was reportedly paid R2.3m; ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Enoch Godongwana was reportedly paid R400 000; while former Free State MEC Mxolisa Dukwana was reportedly paid R600 000.

READ: Ramaphosa asks court to seal 'unlawfully obtained' documents in Public Protector's Bosasa report

The Sunday Independent also revealed some of the funders to the CR17 campaign, which included eNCA director and owner of Hosken Consolidated Investments, Johnny Copelyn, who reportedly donated R2m, while former Absa chief executive Maria Ramos reportedly donated R1m to one of the CR17 trust accounts.

Ramos has since been appointed to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) board by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

Other donations made pre-conference reportedly include large sums from billionaire Nicky Oppenheimer’s family, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust board member Bobby Godsell, former Imperial Holdings chief executive Mark Lamberti, financial services company Sygnia Ltd board member Andre Crawford-Brunt, Goldman Sachs Southern African chief executive Colin Coleman and Eskom board member Sifiso Dabengwa.

Sunday Independent could not obtain comment from a number of people, including Ntshavheni, Siweya, Ramos, Dabengwa and Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko, among other implicated persons.

'Breach of privacy'

However, seemingly pre-empting the Sunday Independent's expose, the Presidency released a statement on Saturday night, noting that the leaking of confidential banking information of funders is a breach of privacy.

"The selective circulation of this banking information is clearly intended to cast aspersions on the President, and follows the recent report of the Public Protector, in which there was a substantial focus on the funding of the CR17 campaign," Diko said in a statement.

READ: Ramaphosa vs Mkhwebane: PP insists Bosasa report is above board as president flags 'unlawful' activity

She said the information leaked to the media, supposedly held only by the Office of the Public Protector, includes bank statements of third parties, which record private transactions and which are strictly confidential.

"The Presidency notes with grave concern what amounts to a violation of the constitutionally enshrined right to privacy. This is all the more troubling as it seems clear that this information had been, from the first instance, obtained in an illegal manner.

Ramaphosa has also approached the courts to seal certain documents contained in the Public Protector’s report into the CR17 campaign fund and a donation made to the fund by Bosasa boss Gavin Watson.

Ramaphosa, through a lawyer's letter from Harris Nupen Molebatsi Inc, which News24 has seen, said certain bank statements in her report contain confidential information belonging to third parties.

READ: CR17 was run as a clean campaign, says Presidency amid leaking of funders' names

The papers submitted by the president's lawyers on Thursday suggest that some of the bank statements may have been obtained unlawfully.

Diko maintained that the CR17 campaign was clean and lawful.

"It is a common and accepted practice in South Africa and across the world for parties and candidates to raise funding from donors for campaigns. From the outset, the CR17 campaign team and the candidate agreed that this should be a clean campaign that operated within the necessary legal prescripts and in line with the values and principles of their organisation," said Diko.

Meanwhile, Mkhwebane's office maintains that her report is above board.

"The PP [Public Protector] conducted the investigation by the book. There was no [un]lawful activity," Mkhwebane's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe told News24 on Friday.

Once filed in court, the documents become public information which would be available to everyone, Segalwe said.

News24 revealed last weekend that leaked emails from the CR17 campaign showed that Ramaphosa was consulted by his campaign managers on certain potential donors, despite consistent denials that he was involved in the fundraising efforts of the campaign.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  busisi­we mkhwebane  |  cr17 campaign
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